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Growing Hunger in Malawi Stirs Food Aid Debate

Fred de Sam Lazaro reports on the debate over the benefits of providing cash or crops to recipient nations. He also looks into the growing effects of domestic farm law on world food markets.

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    And to our second African story about feeding the hungry in Malawi. Special correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro has the story. A version of his report will air on the PBS program "Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly."

    FRED DE SAM LAZARO, NewsHour correspondent: At about 10:30 each morning, some 800 children in the southern Malawi village of Kusungo break from studies for porridge.

    The principal says attendance has climbed 50 percent since the food program began three years ago. In this country of 13 million, beset by chronic hunger, it's the only reliable meal of the day.

    BRIGHTON MTIKOMOLA, school principal: They haven't eaten anything else. So when they come here, take this sort of food, now when they take this sort of food, it makes them to increase their performance.


    They have more energy?


    Yes, more energy, yes.


    The soy or maize for the feeding program comes from many countries, but the largest contributor is the United States, through a program called Food for Peace. It began in the 1950s as a means to use U.S. grain surpluses to help countries hit by food crises.