Tuesday, July 24, 2007

What is PL 480?

It is a food assistance programme of the US government. Food assistance is given to other countries – either on government to government basis or on people to people basis. U.S. support for overseas food aid was formalized in the Agricultural Trade Development and assistance Act of 1954, also known as P.L. 480 Food for Peace. The basic legislation, establishes the U.S. policy of using the country's abundant agricultural resources and food processing capabilities to enhance food security in the developing world. It has its own strategic and humanitarian concerns behind it.

The PL in PL 480 stands for Public Law. This food aid program is comprised of a number of ‘titles’. Each title has different objectives and provides agricultural assistance to countries at different levels of economic development. Title I of the P.L. 480 program is administered by US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Title II is administered by the US Agency for International Development (USAID). Nothing much is known about other titles.

Title I provides for the sales of U.S. agriculture commodities on concessional credit terms to governments and private entities in developing countries. When allocating assistance under the Title I program, priority is given to agreements that provide for the export of U.S. agricultural commodities to those developing countries which have demonstrated the potential to become commercial markets, are undertaking measures to improve their food security and agriculture development, and demonstrate the greatest need for food.

Title II, is Emergency and Development Food Assistance. Through this program, USAID promotes managed growth in activities that use food for humanitarian feeding and for education.