WASHINGTON - - The United States will drastically reduce emergency food aid to some of the poorest countries this year because of soaring food prices, The Washington Post reported Saturday.
Citing unnamed officials, the newspaper said the US Agency for International Development was drafting plans to cut down the number of recipient nations and the amount of food provided to them.
A 41-percent surge in prices of wheat, corn, rice and other cereals over the past six months has generated a 120-million-dollar budget shortfall that will force the USAID to reduce emergency operations, the report said.
That deficit is projected to rise to 200 million dollars by the end of the year.
The USAID is reviewing all of the agency's emergency programs, which target countries like Ethiopia, Iraq, Somalia, Honduras and Sudan's Darfur region.
"We're in the process now of going country by country and analyzing the commodity price increase on each country," The Post quotes Jeff Borns, director of USAID's Food for Peace program as saying. "Then we're going to have to prioritize."