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.
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