BIFAD releases report on value of U.S. foreign aid |

BIFAD releases report on value of U.S. foreign aid

-The Hagstrom Report

The Board for International Food and Agriculture Development (BIFAD), a presidentially appointed advisory board to the U.S. Agency for International Development that advises USAID on issues concerning agriculture, higher education in developing countries, and food insecurity, released a report Oct. 16 that said the United States receives broad-based economic, national security, and diplomatic benefits from its agricultural assistance in the developing world.

The report was released on the sidelines of the World Food Prize ceremonies in Des Moines. The BIFAD commissioned the report, which was prepared for the International Food Policy Research Institute by David Kraybill and Stephanie Mercier under the direction of Joseph Glauber. Kraybill is professor emeritus of the Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics, Ohio State University. Mercier is a former Senate Agriculture Committee professional staff member and an agricultural policy consultant with Agricultural Perspectives. Glauber, a former Agriculture Department chief economist, is a senior research fellow in the Markets, Trade, and Institutions Division, International Food Policy Research Institute.

U.S. agricultural exports to developing countries total $90 billion (of a total of $140 billion) annually and help generate an increase in total U.S. economic activity of $259 billion, the report said. By increasing agriculture capacity and production, agricultural aid lifts incomes in the developing world and fuels demand for goods and services abroad, the report says.

With global food demand projected to increase by 50 percent over the next 30 years, mostly from burgeoning demand in low-income countries, bolstered investment in foreign agriculture is essential to help American farmers gain an edge in rapidly growing emerging markets, the report says.

The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities helps administer the BIFAD’s operations.

“A vibrant agricultural sector is fundamental to building a thriving society,” said APLU President Peter McPherson, who served as administrator of USAID from 1981 to 1987. “Thanks to agricultural development aid from USAID and others, public research and land-grant universities are able to play a vital role in advancing agricultural capacity of the developing world.”

“As an agricultural economist, I have long recognized the threat facing our planet with both a growing population and serious challenges to future food supplies,” said Mark Keenum, president of Mississippi State University and chair of BIFAD. “Finding ways to enhance food security is literally a matter of life and death. It is important to preventing conflict among nations and is in our own national security interests. It is also simply the right thing to do.”

“Research is at the core of innovations in agriculture that benefit both recipient countries and those in the U.S.,” said Shenggen Fan, director general of the International Food Policy Research Institute, which undertook the study. “Continued American investment in foreign agriculture will be vital to providing growing global populations healthy and sustainable diets.”

To see the report, go to