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Food aid and long-term food security

Sunday, March 21st, 2010

As we saw in a previous post, food aid is a complex issue.   On one hand, it’s critical for acute crisis situations where people are starving because of things like war and natural disasters.  On the other hand, in more chronic situations of malnutrition, food aid and cheap imports have the capacity to undermine local food production, which, in the long run, harms the prospect of people feeding themselves through local production.

A farmer’s worst enemy is free food and cheap imports.

In recent years, we have seen this play out in Africa, as Oxfam acknowledges.  MSNBC is running a story today, “With cheap food imports, Haiti can’t feed itself,” about how the same thing has happened there.  Worth reading.

There is also a larger debate at play here about the implications of free trade and industrialized food production.


Photo credit: / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

2 Responses to “Food aid and long-term food security”

  1. [...] there should be seed fairs to facilitate access to locally available and adapted planting material, food distribution to alleviate pressure on seed reserves and cash for work to build up household capital to purchase [...]

  2. Abriel says:

    A great film that speaks to this is “Life and Debt” about Jamaica.
    It’s available on youtube. Here’s a relevant part of it:

    Also, I think its important to emphasize that companies like Monsanto try to use arguments about food security to justify importing GMO and GMO seeds into developing countries, but they do very little for food security (harm biodiversity, force dependence on buying seeds from multinational company, and recently, to the supposed shock of monsanto but unsurprise to everyone else, evidence has come out the bt cotton is leading to resilient pests in India).


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