Goodlatte Praises U.S. Food and Efforts: Hears From Ambassador Tony Hall Following a Trip to Ethiopia

May 14, 2004

Washington D.C.- The House Agriculture Committee met yesterday with former Democratic Member of Congress, Tony Hall, who currently serves in Rome as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Agencies, regarding issues surrounding U.S. food aid.

Hall briefed Members of the Committee following a recent trip to Ethiopia , and spoke generally about the work of the World Food Program, and the critical role that U.S. food aid plays globally. The UN Food and Agriculture Agencies include the World Food Program (WFP), the Food and Agriculture Organization and the International Fund for Agricultural Development.

U.S. food assistance accounts for 57% of the WFP budget given to the poorest countries worldwide.

The U.S. is the most generous donor to the World Food Program (WFP) overall, contributing $1.46 billion in food aid through the WFP in 2003, which constitutes the largest voluntary donation to the UN and to a humanitarian agency in history.

"It was a pleasure to meet with Tony Hall. He is doing an excellent job as Ambassador, serving as a consistent voice on behalf of the world's hungry," Goodlatte said. "One of the great success stories which is rarely told, particularly in the current international climate, is that of U.S. humanitarian food assistance to the most destitute around the globe. I was greatly encouraged by what we heard from Ambassador Hall regarding how the generosity of America 's farmers and ranchers is helping to combat hunger in the developing world."

During the meeting, the Members also discussed the European Union's continued resistance to biotechnology and the impact that has on the developing world. Hall commented that biotechnology has been a major issue during his time as Ambassador, as he has focused on combating the misinformation surrounding biotechnology by bringing to Africa scientists who can speak to the safety of these food products.

"Agricultural biotechnology is one of the most promising developments in modern science," Goodlatte said. "It can help to provide answers to the problems of hunger around the world. We have seen how the European Union's moratorium on biotechnology products may have influenced some developing countries in Africa to reject much needed U.S. food aid. The politicizing of agricultural biotechnology must end."