Provide Food Security for All

The recent skyrocketing cost of food threatens the security of people all over the world. The price of wheat has doubled in less than a year, and rice, which is the staple food for 3 billion people, has tripled in cost in the last 18 months. For example, right now in Burkina Faso, a middle-class family of seven spends 75 percent of its monthly revenue on food costs alone. If immediate needs are not met, and if resources and policies supporting increased agricultural production are not put in place soon, we will see a cascade of hunger across the globe!

The sacredness and fundamental dignity of every human life calls us to do everything we can to meet the basic needs of our brothers and sisters around the globe, including the need for food. We must find immediate and long-term solutions so that more prices increases are averted. A first step is making sure that emergency help is provided in the U.S. 2008 Supplemental Appropriations bill and that money is also set aside for development programs to avert future food emergencies. Please take action today!

Dear [Decision Maker],

The world stands on the brink of a downward spiral of hunger and suffering. Stoked by rising fuel prices, unpredictable weather in key food-producing countries, and demand from emerging economies like India and China, the surge in food prices has already sparked violent protests across Africa, Asia and the Caribbean.

The price of wheat has doubled in less than a year, and rice, which is the staple food for 3 billion people, has tripled in cost in the last 18 months. This food insecurity threatens the economic gains made by developing countries as well as their political stability. We need to urgently find ways to meet the immediate needs of the hungry and to implement resources and policies supporting increased agricultural production.

To that end, I would urge:

1. In the FY2008 Supplemental Appropriations bill - provision of $600 million in Title II emergency food aid, plus an additional $100 million for the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust.

2. In the Farm Bill - creation of a $600 million 'safebox' for development programs. The 'safebox' would ensure that food aid funding would be strictly reserved for non-emergency long-term developmental food aid programs that are currently being raided to respond to emergency food needs. Long-term developmental food aid programs address chronic hunger so that future food emergencies can be averted.

3. Also in the Farm Bill - mandating that the Secretary of Agriculture first use the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust to meet unforeseen emergency food needs. This 'first use' provision will help protect long-term development food aid programs from being raided in emergencies.

The primary goal of agricultural policies should be providing food for all people and reducing poverty among farmers and farm workers in this country and abroad. Besides the economic and political benefits, such policies would recognize the fundamental dignity of every human life and respond to one of their most basic rights - the right to food.

I urge you to act on this important issue.
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