Supply chain disruptions: US measures to prom...
Supply chain disruptions

US measures to promote resilient food supply

Imago / ZUMA Wire
The USDA’s framework aims to transform the domestic food system to become fairer, more competitive and increase its resilience.
The USDA’s framework aims to transform the domestic food system to become fairer, more competitive and increase its resilience.

USA, Washington. The USDA outlined its framework to strengthen the domestic supply chain. The framework is aimed at critical areas of food production, processing, distribution, aggregation and consumer accessibility. Its central task is to decentralise and shorten the supply chain and promote the diversification of its national suppliers.

Last week, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a framework to transform the food system to benefit consumers, producers, and rural communities while strengthening critical supply chains and addressing longstanding structural challenges revealed and intensified by the pandemic.

The long-term effects of the pandemic and Russia’s war in Ukraine have caused supply chain disruptions, made it necessary to “strengthen the food system across the supply chain, from how our food is produced to how it is purchased, and all the steps in between,” according to the USDA press release.

The Ministry lists the goals of its Food System Transformation framework as increasing the resilience of the US food supply chain by decentralising production and distribution while also reducing carbon pollution; creating a fairer food system by combatting market dominance; making nutritious food more accessible and affordable for consumers, and emphasising equity.

Focusing on farmers, processors and distribution

USDA’s investment strategy includes promoting its farmers and ranchers, particularly small and mid-sized businesses that are valuable for local communities and practice climate-friendly agriculture. By investing up to US$300 million in a new Organic Transition Initiative, the USDA wants to incentivise farmers to transition to organic production. In addition, the Ministry under the Biden-Harris Administration plans to support urban agriculture with up to US$75 million, acknowledging that initial funding did not reach its targeted communities.

The pandemic also highlighted other problematic areas in the supply chain. Consolidated processing capacity created supply bottlenecks, which led to a drop in effective plant and slaughter capacity. Small and midsize farmers often struggled to compete for processing access and were left without an avenue for getting their animals to market, the USDA points out and therefore seeks to support new and expanded regional processing capacity and address challenges in the middle of the supply chain, including underinvestment in workforce development and barriers to new entrants into the sector.

In addition to its prior investment programs to diversify the processing sector, the USDA plans to invest up to US$100 million to support the development of a pipeline of well-trained workers and safe workplaces; US$200 million for Food Safety Certification for Specialty Crops Program for speciality crop operations that incur eligible on-farm food safety program expenses and up to US$600 million in financial assistance to support food supply chain infrastructure that is not covered by the meat and poultry processing program.

As part of stabilizing its infrastructure, the Ministry plans investments of US$550 million in creating regional food business centres, farm-to-school programs and programs to reduce and prevent food loss and waste.

Addressing food and nutrition insecurity

Its framework includes specific measures to tackle food and nutrition insecurity exacerbated by the pandemic and the supply chain disruptions caused by the war in Ukraine. Increased funds of US$370 million are specifically targeting vulnerable communities to increase access to nutritious food and promote smaller operations and increase local business opportunities.

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture
USDA funding USA


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