Food Aid:

Competing Goals and Requirements Hinder Title I Program Results

GGD-95-68: Published: Jun 26, 1995. Publicly Released: Jun 26, 1995.

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Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO reviewed the impact of Title I assistance on: (1) sustainable economic development in recipient countries; and (2) long-term market development for U.S. agricultural goods in those countries.

GAO found that: (1) U.S. agricultural exports and world food aid have decreased because there are other donor countries and new programs such as the Department of Agriculture's (USDA) market development program; (2) title I has had minimal effect on sustainable economic development in recipient countries; (3) the primary way in which title I food aid can contribute to broad-based sustainable development in the recipient country is to give the country the foreign exchange savings it needs to invest in long-term economic development projects; (4) the link between title I and market development is uncertain, since USDA and other agency studies have not shown a link between title I assistance and the establishment of a long-term commercial market share for U.S. agricultural products; (5) price-sensitive exports restrict title I market development opportunities; (6) Title I program management has been streamlined by assigning title I programs to USDA and titles II and III to the Agency for International Development (AID); and (7) while the objectives of P.L. 480 legislation can support U.S. foreign policy and trade interests, they can also impede the development of an effective program strategy.

Matters for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Congress considered changes in the P.L. 480 Title I Program as part of its development of the 1996 Farm Bill Export Title and decided not to make changes in the program responsive to this recommendation.

    Matter: If Congress wants to continue to support title I objectives and devote resources to achieving them, it may want to consider refocusing the program on more specific economic and/or market development objectives by eliminating some of the multiple and competing requirements of the present framework.

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Congress considered changes in the P.L. 480 Title I Program as part of its development of the 1995 Farm Bill Export Title and decided not to make changes in the program responsive to this recommendation.

    Matter: If Congress wants to continue to support title I objectives and devote resources to achieving them, it may want to consider restructuring the program to concentrate on a single objective, such as market development.

  3. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Congress considered elimination of the P.L. 480 Title I Program as part of its development of the 1996 Farm Bill Export Title, but decided to retain the program without any major changes.

    Matter: If Congress wants to continue to support title I objectives and devote resources to achieving them, it may want to consider eliminating the program and transferring its resources to resources to existing programs with compatible purposes.

  4. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Congress considered elimination of the P.L. 480 Title I Program as part of its development of the 1995 Farm Bill Export Title, but decided to retain the program.

    Matter: If Congress wants to continue to support title I objectives and devote resources to achieving them, it may want to consider eliminating the program and replacing it with a new program or programs unencumbered with a history of competing objectives and outdated program requirements.

 

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