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U.S. Food Aid Flawed, Charity Says

CARE International is turning down $46 million a year in U.S. funding.

Charity group CARE International has decided to turn down $46 million a year in federal funds from the U.S., saying the American food aid system does more harm than good.

The U.S. sends about half of all food aid to developing nations, but is the only country to use a "monetized food aid" system in which grain is shipped to charities overseas which sell the grain in the local markets and keep the proceeds for their own programs.

CARE says it is phasing that system out over the next two years because it says the system often only delivers grain to those who can afford it rather than the poorest and hungriest people.

Most food aid is not delivered this way - about 22% of all food aid is sold rather than handed out. The U.N.'s World Food Program does not allow any of its grain to be sold by NGOs.

U.S. food aid policy has come under fire during Doha round discussions. Some countries say that since the U.S. will only distribute food that it grows, it is essentially putting in place a subsidy while interfering with the distribution of the aid.

Save the Children USA, which along with CARE is a major recipient of monetized food aid, calls food aid a "vital resource," but adds in a TIME report that it "shares CARE's frustration."

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