Lessons In Refining Food Aid From ‘captain Phillips’

laws protect shipping and agribusiness at the expense of both American taxpayers and the worlds hungry. Specifically, the largest U.S. food aid program must distribute only U.S.-produced commodities. And at least half of that food must travel on U.S.-flagged vessels. You dont need a degree in economics to understand who profits from these rules: the American farmers, food processors, maritime unions, ship-owning companies and ports that enjoy a guaranteed flow of government business. USA Maritime , a lobbying coalition, estimated this spring that international food aid accounts for 44,000 jobs in 28 states . So it was that when pirates seized the 500-foot Maersk Alabama in April 2009, the ship flying the Stars and Stripes, with Capt. Richard Phillips in charge of an American crew was carrying, according to a spokesman, 8,000 metric tons of American-made vegetable oil, bulgur wheat, corn soya blend and dehydrated vegetables to the United Nations World Food Programme in Mombasa, Kenya. Of course, the domestic rewards of international altruism have been invoked in favor of food aid since President Dwight Eisenhower said that global distribution of Americas bounty would lay the basis for a permanent expansion of our exports of agricultural products with lasting benefits to ourselves and peoples of other lands. The problem is that special-interest carve-outs result in programs that feed fewer people at greater cost than might otherwise be the case. The set-aside for U.S.-flagged vessels jacks up transportation costs. If there were no buy-American rule for the food commodities, the United States could purchase from the cheapest, most convenient source possibly in Africa. Instead of dumping our bumper crops on their markets, Washington could provide an incentive for African farmers to invest and produce, improving self-sufficiency on that continent. Under current law, at least 15 percent of U.S. food aid (and, in practice, usually more) must be monetized. This means that once a U.S.-flagged vessel gets the commodities to Africa, they are resold on local markets by nongovernmental organizations, which use the cash to fund development projects.

From Farm to Table: Reducing Waste in the Food Chain

Innovations in agricultural chemical, biotechnology and germplasm safeguard crops from disease, pests and weeds while increasing yields and reducing the impact on the environment. Dow is working with farmers to create drip-irrigation systems that deliver precise amounts of water directly to crop roots facilitating growth while greatly reducing water waste. And through a range of innovative post-harvest protection products and services , Dow is enabling growers, packers, shippers, exporters, and importers to deliver high-quality fresh fruit and vegetables to consumers. Following its harvest, food goes through a processing phase which allows manufacturers to accommodate the changing tastes and needs of the marketplace. For example, Dows food processing solutions allow the removal of allergens such as gluten giving consumers the opportunity to enjoy increased options that accommodate their dietary restrictions. In dairy processing, Dow offers products that help producers create products that allow for easier handling, greater productivity, superior sanitation, and processing energy savings. Food spoilage is a major contributor to the food waste problem, and keeping packaged foods fresh on the inside while protecting it from outside invaders and delaying spoilage is one of the most obvious consumer benefits in the food chain. Dows resins for flexible stand-up pouches use less material to package items such as soups, baby food and baking ingredients, locking in nutrients to form a barrier against ripening agents or molds that cause food decay. These lightweight packages also mean that more food can fit into each truckload, and vehicles use less fuel to distribute the food, in turn reducing carbon footprints – a win-win for everyone in the supply chain. For more information: Facebook About Dow Dow ( DOW ) combines the power of science and technology to passionately innovate what is essential to human progress. The Company connects chemistry and innovation with the principles of sustainability to help address many of the world’s most challenging problems such as the need for clean water, renewable energy generation and conservation, and increasing agricultural productivity. Dow’s diversified industry-leading portfolio of specialty chemical, advanced materials, agrosciences and plastics businesses delivers a broad range of technology-based products and solutions to customers in approximately 160countries and in high growth sectors such as electronics, water, energy, coatings and agriculture. In 2012, Dow had annual sales of approximately $57billion and employed approximately 54,000people worldwide. The Company’s more than 5,000 products are manufactured at 188sites in 36countries across the globe. References to “Dow” or the “Company” mean The Dow Chemical Company and its consolidated subsidiaries unless otherwise expressly noted.