The U.S. Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust maintains a commodity reserve to provide emergency aid overseas, and helps agriculture by purchasing commodities for reserve when supply is in surplus and prices are low. Commodity producers, fearing depressed market prices, are politically challenging the trust’s statutory authority to monetize reserve commodities to finance the purchase of other aid commodities required by recipient regions. We recommend three policies for protecting humanitarian and agricultural interests in the trust program: (1) Diversify commodities held in trust; (2) Diversify federal agencies involved in dispensing aid; and (3) Rely on revised trust-sales procedures to protect storage warehouses.
“HUNDREDS of millions of people in the world are forced to endure lives of abject poverty—poverty so acute that those fortunate enough to live in the United States, or Europe or the rich industrialised parts of Asia can scarcely comprehend its meaning. Surely there is no more commanding moral imperative for people in the West than to urge each other, and their governments, to bring relief to the world’s poorest.” [The Economist, March 11, 2004]