Excerpt from speech “Perspectives on—“US Food Aid—50 years of Food for Peace” by Ambassador Himachal Som, Permanent Representative of India to UN Agencies

Rome—May 26th, 2004

“Indeed let there be no doubt that India has benefited immensely from the PL 480 Food Aid Program, first in feeding its millions in critical years of acute food shortage in the fifties and sixties.  Secondly, when this period was over, thanks to the Green Revolution by the mid 70s, to monetize this assistance to help the creation of a number of important food-related activities and reach the goal of self-sufficiency in these areas; to create, through an innovative food for work programme, of a number of critically important agriculture-related infrastructure projects from small village level activities to pharonic works like the Rajasthan Canal.  Finally, through schemes which continue even today, towards achieving important social objectives impacting on critical issues of child and women development services, helping create food security, and developing support to critical and marginalized peoples….”

“I am happy to say that India’s experience of US food Aid is a good example of creation of assets and opportunities that have enabled our emergence from a situation of dependence….”

“I refer to the “Operation Flood” for milk and the “Operation Golden Flow of Edible Oil” – both very significantly assisted by US Food Aid through PL 480.  In both cases, Food Aid – in milk powder and edible oil respectively – was monetized for the creation of dairy and edible oil cooperative structures and development of production and markets.  [M]ilk powder and butter oil worth almost $ 200 million were sold through the Indian National Dairy Development Board at local prices.  The funds thus generated were invested in different parts of India’s dairy industry, including construction and expansion of dairy plants, storage and long-distance milk transport facilities, the organization of rural milk procurement along cooperative lines, livestock improvement, including the resettlement of city-kept milk cows, and forage and animal feed productivity…”

“Today – India, largely a vegetarian country, is awash with milk.  In 2002-3 Operation Flood’s 55000 village level cooperatives involving almost 10 million farmers – many of them women – were supplying 18 million tones of milk a day, raising per capita consumption of milk from 107 grams per day in 1970 to over 220 grams per day now.”

“Similar is the story of edible oil, which constitutes an important source of calories in the Indian diet after food grains.  In the late seventies, Indian oilseed production had stagnated and was so low that one million tons per year had to be imported.  Inefficient processing and marketing was characterized by high profit margins and speculative practices that exploited growers.  PL 480 came forward to duplicate the Operation Flood experience.  ‘Operation Golden Flow’ began with $ 160 million worth of U.S. soya oil.  The sales generated money to finance modern processing plants, for production and for support to oil seed producers, for research, development and extension services and for marketing again through a cooperative process – and all this in over 8000 villages.  Not only did it create rural employment, but helped largely to reduce India’s dependence on imported oil – thus saving its limited resources for other fruitful activities in the social sector like health and education.”

Secretary Vilsack - 60th Anniversary of FFP (July 9, 2014)“The Food for Peace program follows in this country’s long tradition of sharing the great bounty produced by our farmers and ranchers with those less fortunate around the world. The Food for Peace program embodies the American commitment to our role as a global food security leader and a leader in agricultural innovation to meet the growing global demand for safe, affordable, nutritious food.”

Thomas J. Vilsack
Secretary of Agriculture, United States Department of Agriculture July 9th, 2014

Administrator Shah, USAID - 60th Anniversary of FFP (July 9, 2014)“For the past 60 years, USAID’s Food for Peace program has brought hope, opportunity and dignity to those suffering from hunger around the globe. It has not only saved millions of lives, but helped the world’s most vulnerable communities progress from dependency to self-sufficiency. In doing so, Food for Peace has played a critical role in accelerating our effort to end extreme poverty, unlock prosperity, and build resilient, democratic societies.”

Rajiv Shah
Administrator, United States Agency for International Development July 9th, 2014

“Global food prices are rising to dangerous levels and threaten tens of millions of poor people around the world. The price hike is already pushing millions of people into poverty, and putting stress on the most vulnerable, who spend more than half of their income on food.”

Robert B. Zoellick
President, World Bank Group February 15th, 2011

“We know very well that hunger is a drain on economic development. It is a threat to the stability of governments and it certainly it deprives us of the talents and energy of nearly a billion people worldwide. Fighting hunger is a priority for us and it demands our highest levels of patience and commitment.”

Hillary Clinton
U.S. Secretary of State October 6th, 2010

“The U.S. should be working for peace in the world and to treat people like human beings. That’s what Food for Peace is all about; using our surplus to defeat hunger. I think hunger is the biggest problem in the world today.”

George McGovern
Former Presidential Candidate and Senator April 23rd, 2010

“Food security is about economic, environmental, and national security for our individual homelands and the entire world.”

Hillary Clinton
U.S. Secretary of State  October 16th, 2009

“Food for Peace is a crucial tool in fulfilling our nation’s commitment to foreign assistance and global food security. Even in the face of monumental challenges at home and abroad, we must remember those whose lives were already plagued by persistent poverty, hunger, and disease.”

Senator Tom Harkin
D-IA & Member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry March 20th, 2009

“Fifty years ago President Eisenhower created the Food for Peace program to share our country’s rich harvests with those in need in postwar Europe and other countries. Since then, U.S. food has made a huge difference to so many people, assisting in times of crisis and showing that America’s generosity goes beyond all political boundaries. Hunger knows no nationality, and we Americans continue to send our wheat, corn, and other foods wherever they are needed to save lives.”

Colin Powell
U.S. Secretary of State, USAID July 10th, 2004