Online Geography Resources


Food Aid

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World Food Programme

Download this Geography Spreadsheet Excel document from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. It is data relating to the percentage of food aid within a country's total consumption.

Highlight the list of countries and the three columns of data > Data > Sort > Sort by Column E > Descending > OK.


Food aid 'not enough on its own'

Mark Kinver - Science and Nature Reporter, BBC News. Wednesday, 24 January 2007

Food Aid

Unless food aid reaches "the right people at the right time" it can lead to food insecurity, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warns.

A report by the UN agency suggested alternative measures, such as cash or vouchers, could be more effective. Poorly targeted aid often depressed local market prices, the report added.

But a spokesman for the World Food Programme (WFP) said an increase of natural disasters meant that more people required immediate food aid.

"It is very clear that food aid saves lives," Terri Raney, author of the FAO's State of Food and Agriculture 2006 report, told BBC News. "Our concern, though, is that in some cases, physical distribution of food aid can undermine longer term security."

Right place, right time

The report recommended a number of "fairly simple" reforms. Some of the ways food aid is managed reduce the efficiency of the timing and targeting.

We [the report authors] think that it [food aid] ought to be separated from the tie-in requirements many donor nations put on their food aid." These requirements included the stipulation that the food had to be purchased and processed in the donor nation, and then shipped on vessels registered in the donor nation. These kinds of things not only reduce the efficiency of the food aid, but they are very costly. This approach meant that it could take up to six months or longer before the food arrived where it was needed.

Secondly, we [the report authors] recommend providing food aid only in very targeted ways. About a quarter of food aid is sold in local markets; we are not talking about black markets, this is just the standard way it is distributed. That sort of aid is not targeted at people in need, it is just likely to depress local market prices and more likely to have negative long-term consequences.

The UN's World Food Programme, the globe's largest aid agency, said the increasing number of natural disasters were dictating how its own resources were allocated.

Eighty-five percent of our food aid is emergency food aid, and only 15% is going to address chronic hunger among malnourished children. The scale of the natural disasters meant that there were very few resources for other programmes, such as feeding pregnant women and school children. The main staple of the WFP's food aid packages are cereal crops, which have seen prices recently reach a decade high. The price hike was a result of poor harvests in key producing nations and the growing demand for biofuels.

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