USAID head says food aid changes are urgent

WASHINGTON (AP) — The head of the United States Agency for International Development says a proposal to shift the way food is delivered abroad could help an additional 4 million starving people. But there doesn’t appear to be much support for the idea on Capitol Hill.

USAID administrator Rajiv Shah told The Associated Press Tuesday that the current system of shipping U.S.-grown food abroad is inefficient and that changes are necessary as a humanitarian crisis in Syria and recent droughts in Africa sap food aid from other countries. The Obama administration last week proposed shifting the food aid to cash accounts, saying the move would feed starving people more quickly and cost less.

But many lawmakers are skeptical as the agricultural and shipping industries have long profited from the current program.

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