Thursday, 26 November 2009

Poll results for what do we replace food aid with considering the continuing crisis in places like the Horn of Africa?

Agricultural investment 25%3
Continue with the aid 0%0
Introduce mass GM farming 17%2
Let local producers provide to local markets 58%7
12 votes total

Thanks to those who voted. I'm not phased by such poor response and it's not because the question was difficult to tackle or badly scribed but it does reflect the apathy people have with this subject and now seemingly an everyday actuality. In one conversation I had with someone, they said they are not going to vote because ‘we have all cried over Africa we give them the money and they just spend it’. They are not far wrong but it was strange and some what frustrating that they ended their argument telling of how they gave a friend some funding who was going out there in order to help build a school. I did put my head in my hands, surely with this understanding of skipping the middle man you are capable of deciphering where a sensible vote would go, a box tick of I or 4 would have sufficed. It’s that level of resistance that slows the world to a crawl.

Anyway continuing with food aid is a no no, it’s not working and serves to build resentment. GM farming is actually happening as seeds donated in aid from the US are modified. Some countries have agreed how it can be farmed without infecting normal crops others have constructed no policy on the matter. The ideal would be encouraging local producers to provide to local markets but as it stands in some places, food aid ‘displaces commercial sales for local farmers as well as rival importers. These market conditions discourage local production: exactly the opposite of what is needed to meet the underlying purpose of all development assistance: the reduction of poverty. Livelihoods, food security, and rural development all depend on stimulating increased production in food aid recipient countries.’ (Foreign policy in focus, Food aid emergency)

So we are left with agricultural investment it’s the one I favour most and will strengthen the economies in the long run. Most areas it would seem effected predominately by poverty seem to be in the rural areas, this is where the concentration of investment should be delivered. I agree with the Imperial College London who suggested these implementation policies in 2004:-

  • Diversity - policies on agricultural development such as irrigation and rain-fed cereal intensification, root crop intensification or export cash crops must be tailor made to reflect the diversity in each country that has arisen from the differing colonial histories.
  • Institutional development - investigate how alternative governance structures could provide the necessary coordination while being responsive to farmers' interests, encourage operational efficiency and financial discipline. Preliminary ideas include tenders for regional franchise, with rewards to the operating company.
  • Trade - studies are needed of policy regimes, which would maintain linkage to world markets, via competitive trading, but help stabilise prices.
  • Research - technological and institutional innovations are needed for economic development with a balance between bottom up and pure applied research.
  • Governance - interventions are needed to stimulate both political and economic development by drawing attention to the question of how accountable political institutions develop.

The Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) have proven research to say that " in the past that just small amounts of funding can boost crop yields, defeat devastating pests, and ultimately lift farmers and their families out of poverty – allowing them to earn enough money to send their children to school'. What worries me is if we are armed with significant amounts of research and solutions why are the investments still not being made and rolling this out on a larger scale? Why are countries such as the US still intent in giving aid? And ignoring the target set by the UN to alleviate poverty by 2015. This goes back to a concern I have voiced in an earlier post, is there money to be made in food aid? We already know that corruption is writhe in some African governments but are they completely to blame? Anyway I have spoken enough on this one and shall talk of free markets, Fairtrade and GM crops in a post down the line. Bet you can’t wait!!


  1. Is the poll closed? I like investment with a goal of supporting local farmers... One of the problems we have in the US is that we subsidize farmers and we'll either ask them to stop growing for price stability or we export the yield as aid. So there is an economic incentive to export food as the system currently exists. I have heard that Obama wants to change that... hope he does.

  2. Hey - hope you are well - just wanted to drop you a line to say THANKS for following my blog. I was even happier when I came to your blog and read how fab and interesting it is. I can't find your email here - but you know where I am, so would love to stay in touch.
    All the best Tallulah - from London Girl

  3. I believe Africa needs all the help it can get from other nation to help improve its economic condition.

  4. Maybe donating animals such as from Heifer International might help some.

    Africa needs all the help we can give, but what about the bad guys? Animals and some supplies from Heifer International may help some.

  5. I would definitely go for more agricultural investment and education to feed the poor. Rather than give the man a fish, it is better to teach him how to fish as it is a lifelong skill.

  6. Thanks for contributing everyone

    Harmon I really hope so is literally causing stagnation. I will have to look deeper into aid though...I think there is profit being made and we know no government is above corruption.

    Hey Tallulah completely lovely to see you here jst pop by any time and are added to my very extensive reading list.

    STAN!!!! There you see I worry when you are not around. As I can't get to your website anymore make sure you pop in from time to time and say hello...I have an interesting report coming up, I know it will interest you.

    Vinay I couldn't agree more as well as all the other countries that are struggling, there are solutions, it's just the resistance to them is unexplainable. It will be my lifes work to see if I can help change that.

    CCOL4HIM hi ya....I have never heard of that particular charity but I do use similar ones and will be doing so this Xmas (my family love me but their all Catholics and can't complain) Only problem is there needs to be more substantial animals to keep communities going...the odd goat helps but only slightly. Great idea though I shall promote it this Xmas to the annoyance of many I'm sure.

    ImageLuv it's the best way forward in my opinion and the rest of the options can follow suit. And yes education is ultimately the key to people in the North of the world and in the’s all so simple on paper eh?

  7. Great post. A topic I hold dear in my concern list. Too bad the poll is closed. Agriculture investment would have been my pick too.

  8. With the amount of food, time, effort, money wasted on wars, we can do so much to cultivate many areas of Africa. Yet, people for someone to say "we give them money/support and they spend it", Well, we do the same thing in the US.



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