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Submitted by Jacqueline on
There hasn't been much discussion here on the role and affect of food aid on agricultural development. Food aid began as a response to the cases of food insecurity around the world. Program food aid and food aid provided for an extended time period causes damage to local production in recipient countries because they dump surplus food in their markets at low prices. Local production is hampered because locals cannot compete against such reduced prices. As the livelihoods in many of the recipient countries are dependent on some form of agriculture, this has detrimental effects on their means of survival. Farmers who cannot fairly participate in the market lose their main source of income, thus unable to support their family’s basic needs, one of which is food. Furthermore, it affects commercial imports, another way that country’s can meet their demand for food. Trade is the means for the international distribution of food. With food aid provided at lower prices, commercial importers can no longer compete and must find alternative markets. In addressing the current hunger crisis on the continent, long term sustainable food security requires the investment in agriculture, not further reliance on food aid or charitable donations. Initially, money to support agricultural development should come from the conversion of the money that goes into the logistics and coordination of food aid and importing food. However, alternate funding will most likely be needed. Increasing agricultural development to countries suffering from food insecurity will increase production; therefore, increasing the amount of food available and the capacity to purchase this food all within their own borders. Furthermore, in conjunction with the other components of development assistance, poorer nations will improve food security, empower them to help themselves, and decrease their need for foreign aid. Currently, Africa’s population increases disproportionally higher than food production. In fact, food is among the highest products for import. For Kenya and Tanzania, food aid constituted two-thirds of imports in the 1990s. To just realize the basic development goals, agriculture and economic growth have to increase. But for this to be achievable, cultivated land area must be doubled, yet additional potential environmental costs. The amount of food imports is also dependent on food production in exporting nations which may fluctuate with climate change. To achieve food security, Africa must find ways to increase agricultural production and simultaneously with sustainable economic growth.