Food Aid Reforms Needed to Combat Hunger
Emergency aid has saved millions of lives, but such help provided over longer periods might destabilise markets, create dependency on imports and delay reforms needed to lift domestic output, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said in a report.
“Reforms to the international food aid system are necessary but they should be undertaken giving due consideration to the needs of those whose lives are at risk,” FAO said in its report on the state of food and agriculture in 2006.
“Whenever possible, it is always better to teach and help people to fish rather than to give them fish,” FAO Director General Jacques Diouf said.
About 854 million people around the world lack enough food to lead active and healthy lives and more than 90 percent of them are chronically hungry, the FAO said.
Food aid needs to focus on emergencies and target only those who really need it, while longer-term efforts should aim at building the funds, skills and other conditions required to revive local agriculture and trade.
“Although the moral imperative to provide assistance to people suffering from extreme hunger is undeniable … some ask whether such aid may in fact be counterproductive to longer-term sustainable reductions in hunger and poverty,” the agency said.
FAO said it favoured selling food aid where possible on local markets to raise funds for development and urged donors to switch to targeted cash assistance and food vouchers when food was available locally.
I agree so much with the points made in the above article. Throwing food or money at the problem usually makes it worse. Society needs to give poor and hungry people the opportunity to help themselves, both collectively and individually as individuals and communities. Surges of food aid undermines the local markets by under-pricing local farmers and food stores. Instead of treating people like children, we need to work together with them to find mutually beneficial solutions, through such means as student loans, business loans, and employment.
What do you think?