In a bid to preserve a crucial lifeline for families and the produce industry, the International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA) is leading the charge to fully fund the fruit and vegetable benefit in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). Congress is at a pivotal juncture, and IFPA is calling on legislators to restore funding to its rightful levels in the Fiscal Year 2024 budget.
The Call to Action
IFPA, representing companies spanning the global fresh produce and floral supply chain, is emphasizing the urgency of fully funding the produce benefit in WIC. With proven health and economic benefits, this investment is not just the right thing to do; it’s a commitment to our country’s future.
Without immediate action, the fruit and vegetable benefit in WIC faces a drastic cut by 70% for moms and 56% for kids, reducing the allotment to a mere $13 and $11 a month for fruits and vegetables. This potential slash translates to a staggering more than $1 billion cut in retail produce sales.
Congress Holds the Key
Congress is set to vote on a long-term spending package soon, making it a critical moment for advocates of the produce industry. The fate of the fruit and vegetable benefit in WIC hangs in the balance, and the impact extends beyond budget numbers—it affects the health and well-being of countless families.
WIC Key Points
- Harmful Effects on Children, Families, and the Produce Industry
- Cutting the fruit and vegetable benefit contradicts science-based targets outlined by the National Academies of Sciences (NAS) to deliver at least 50% of the recommended fruit and vegetable intake.
- Reduction in Benefits
- The House FY24 bill proposes a 56% reduction in benefits for children and a 70% drop for moms, with children receiving just $11 a month for fruits and vegetables starting October 1.
- Success Story of WIC
- Despite almost half of American children not consuming a daily vegetable, WIC has been a success story, with participating children exceeding two cups of fruits and vegetables per day.
- Impact of Benefit Bump
- Data from 29 state WIC agencies since 2021 shows a significant increase in fruit and vegetable purchases after the Benefit Bump, resulting in over $75.1 million in additional redemptions each month.
- Broader Economic Impact
- The repercussions of unfunded WIC extend beyond moms and children to produce growers, suppliers, and retailers, facing a potential loss of $1.2 billion worth of fruits and vegetables.
IFPA’s Campaign for Change
IFPA has launched a compelling campaign in Washington, DC, shedding light on the threats to the WIC program and urging Congress to act swiftly. The association’s video ad, “Congress, Don’t Take WIC Away,” serves as a powerful call to action.
Join IFPA in urging Congress to fully fund the produce benefit in FY24 Appropriations. Use their campaign video to take a stand for the health of families and the vitality of the produce industry. Together, let’s ensure that fruits and vegetables remain an essential part of the WIC program, securing a healthier future for our nation.