Food Assistance: What We Do

USAID leads international food assistance efforts within the U.S. Government. Through Food for Peace, USAID provides emergency food assistance to those affected by conflict and natural disasters, and provides development food assistance to address the underlying causes of  hunger and improve food security in the longterm. USAID provides food assistance through several types of activities:  

Emergency Activities

During a food emergency, USAID provides food assistance in the form of food, cash transfers or vouchers to save lives and reduce suffering. Through Food for Peace, USAID responds to emergencies when there is an identified need for food assistance and local authorities do not have the capacity to respond. USAID delivers emergency food assistance through two mechanisms:    

  • Title II: Title II of the Food for Peace Act primarily provides U.S. food to those suffering from hunger or starvation. The Agricultural Act of 2014 (also known as the “Farm Bill”) expanded Title II to include market-based food assistance approaches of buying locally or regionally purchased food, cash transfers for food or food vouchers.
  • Emergency Food Security Program (EFSP): EFSP provides grants to address food security emergencies and allows food to be purchased within an affected country or from nearby (local or regional), the use of cash transfers for food, or food vouchers.

Development Activities

Through Title II, USAID provides development food assistance to reduce food insecurity among vulnerable populations and help build resilience in communities facing chronic poverty and recurrent crises such as drought. Food for Peace development activities tackle food insecurity holistically and look beyond food to address the underlying causes of hunger and malnutrition. The primary purposes of development food security activities are:

  • Reduce chronic malnutrition among children under two years of age and pregnant and lactating mothers.
  • Increase and diversify household income through agriculture and other livelihood initiatives.
  • Strengthen and diversify agricultural production and productivity to build resilience and reduce the need for food assistance.

Nutritional Support Activities

USAID provides small grants to U.S. non-profit and public international organizations to diversify the types of U.S. foods available for Title II programming.

  • International Food Relief Partnership (IFRP):  A sub-program of Title II food assistance, IFRP provides small grants to predominantly faith-based groups to produce and distribute ready-to-use supplementary food and dried soup mix in primarily institutional settings such as health clinics, schools and community centers.

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Last updated: February 15, 2019

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