Federal budget constraints are beginning to take a toll on development and food aid efforts for the world’s poor.

After 14 years of meeting annually to discuss global development and food aid, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) confirmed this week there will be no International Food Aid and Development Conference (IFADC) in 2013 because of the current federal government budget constraints.

According to Food Business News, the agencies said, because of “U.S. government agencies facing a difficult budget environment and being urged to minimize conference events in light of these budget constraints.”

Previous IFADCs pulled together 700 or more participants from around the world, representing major food assistance program stakeholders. Meetings included representatives from U.N. agencies including the World Food Programme, officials from recipient countries, private charitable organizations, and USDA and USAID staff for the meetings in Kansas City every year.

Instead of multiple days of conference meetings as in previous years, USDA and USAID will replace the Kansas City conference with a one-day public meeting in Washington in November 2013. The meeting will be held as an add-on to the Food Aid Consultative Group meeting.

“We know that this is not a complete substitute for the IFADC and that we will have to be creative and thoughtful in how we organize this event. USDA and USAID will reach out to stakeholders during the planning of the one-day meeting,” conference organizers said.

– Liza Casabona

Source: Food Business News
Photo: Guardian