Food Aid Reforms Needed to Combat Hunger

Jan 24, 2007

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.

Read entire report by Svetlana Kovalyova.

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?

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Posted by | Categories: Aid Reform |

2 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Ingrid
    January 24th, 2007 at 4:30 pm #

    I agree as well. For financial problems, the solution is not money automatically, but means of income. Just as well, stabilizing opportunities are keys to maintaining sustainability in a nation. We must avoid simply numbing the problem and not resolving it.
    I have a lot of hope for underprivileged countries that today suffer consequences caused by big world powers and sadness of circumstance.
    I have watched my country (Brazil) do better by beginning from within and becoming independent of bigger giants. It’s just hard to believe sometimes that things will change dramatically, quickly enough to save such a percentage, when the factors that would (or will) make the beiggest difference are the ones that care the least.
    Also, the overpopulation issue comes into play. I read that by the time we have enoigh food, even spread out for everyone somewhat equally, there will be even more to feed. As a consequence, also of global warming and natural disasters, the population over all will decrease.
    The issue remains, however. We are completely out of balance. People dying of hunger in one side of the world, and people dying from obesity on the other. *In the US, the number 1 cause of disease is heart conditions, mainly deriving from unhealthy diets/lifestyles.
    We must even this out.

  2. Julie Philips
    January 25th, 2007 at 12:50 pm #

    referring to 3rd world countries…Education for those who cannot afford to pay for it. Then encourage them through whatever means necessary, to REMAIN in THEIR OWN country to educate, provide services (physican=medical care, agriculturists=educate local farmers) to their people rather than move onto other countries where there is more money to be made.

Children suffering from Poverty