OxFam aims to use humor to fight hunger in new television campaign

By Stewart Doan

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

WASHINGTON, April 10, 2012-Oxfam America plans to release an online video and TV ad on Thursday focused on reforming international aid programs in the next farm bill.

The video will be “funny and surprising,” Oxfam said in an email message to Agri-Pulse Tuedsay, and convey the following message: When kids play with their food it's cute. When Washington does, it costs lives.”

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The ad push is part of Oxfam's campaign to tackle the politics behind hunger.

“We grow enough food on this planet to ensure everyone has enough to eat, but political obstacles, like unnecessary food aid regulations, get in the way,” the group said.

Unlike their constant stream of statements about the forthcoming Farm Bill's commodity, conservation and nutrition provisions, Senate and House Agriculture Committee leaders have said nothing publicly about their plans for food aid. 

Last month, Oxfam and American Jewish World Service, another international relief and development organization, released a report showing that an additional 17 million people worldwide could receive U.S. food aid could receive U.S. food aid if Congress cuts costly red-tape in the farm bill reauthorization. 

In 2010, the U.S., which provides about half of global food aid, spent more than $2 billion to reach 65 million people.

According to Oxfam, Washington could save an estimated $491 million annually through the local and regional purchase of food and by ending the sale or monetization of U.S. food aid in developing country markets to finance development projects

The Oxfam ad will air on cable television programs such as The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, and will be spread online via YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and other social networks.

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