Peterson presses USAID on dry pea, lentil purchases
House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn., asked a U.S. Agency for International Development official this week to explain why USAID has reduced its purchases of dry peas and lentils for food assistance programs.
At a House Agriculture Livestock and Foreign Agriculture Subcommittee hearing on implementation of food aid provisions in the 2018 farm bill, Peterson asked why USAID was reducing the purchases when demand in the recipient countries had not gone down.
Trey Hicks, director for the Office of Food for Peace, Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance at USAID, said the purchasing decisions are based on “need,” not on pricing.
Hicks also noted that pulses and beans are USAID’s third largest category of purchase after wheat and fortified corn and soy blends.
Peterson was not satisfied with the answers. “It doesn’t make any sense to me,” Peterson said, because the countries have not decreased their demand for these products.
Hicks and Ken Isley, administrator of the Agriculture Department’s Foreign Agricultural Service, both testified that their agencies have implemented all the food aid provisions in the 2018 farm bill.