In the previous post, I discussed planned changes to the U.S. food aid policy. A successful U.S. food aid policy will address several issues, including those mentioned previously, and the following:
The food market: many developing countries do not guarantee farmers stable markets and prices, which discourages investment in food production. If the U.S. is going to help poor countries by buying food from local farmers, it must ensure regular and continuing funding; otherwise, it will be impossible for local farmers to make investment and operational decisions.
Land investment in Africa is another important issue. Many governments enter into deals with foreign and domestic agribusinesses to produce export crops. These crops are often produced on farmland occupied by small farmers engaged in subsistence agriculture and lacking property rights. Such deals often uproot farmers, forcing them to relocate to less productive lands. And there is no evidence that the proceeds from these deals increase local food security. This is the case in countries like Ethiopia, Kenya, and Mozambique, to name just a few. U.S. food aid policy should actively discourage this practice. If not, American food policy will be seen by the people of poor countries as working against them.
These issues -- and others -- cannot be ignored. A successful U.S. food aid policy will address all of them.
The author is CEO of Palms for Life Fund (palmsforlifefund.org), a U.S.-based NGO working to alleviate poverty worldwide with projects in food, water sanitation and education in the U.S., Africa and Latin America. She is a former long-term employee of the UN World Food Programme.