The Bush administration, departing from its normal practice of relying on U.S. farmers to supply food for hungry foreigners, expects to turn to overseas markets for part of its food aid program, according to Dow Jones newswires.

Andrew Natsios, administrator for the Agency for International Development, said $300 million of the agency's proposed $1.2 billion food aid program for 2006 will be set aside for foreign food purchases in regions with countries facing emergency food situations.

"This is a major presidential reform that gives us a new tool to fight famine," Natsios said.

Reduced farm prices abroad means food aid dollars go further under the new plan, he said. In addition, he added, the high cost of shipping U.S.-grown food is eliminated. Natsios said there have been cases where hungry people have died waiting for U.S. food relief, which often takes months to ship.