Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Haiti 2010 vs. Ireland 1847
Here is a well-done if brief article discussing the need to balance short-term food aid, and efforts to build local food production capacity. It compares the Haitian case to the Irish famine. Food aid is needed in humanitarian emergencies, but if a country is flooded for a long period of time with cheap or free food from abroad, local farmers go out of business because they can't compete with donated food. This in turn creates the need for more food aid, since now there are fewer farmers producing, and more jobless people. On the other hand, if you only focus on long-term agrarian development in the midst of an acute crisis, lots of people will starve or suffer in the short term. The author's conclusion (which I agree with) is that the best solution is to source food aid from the recipient country's own farmers. That way you're providing food for the hungry, as well as supporting the country's food sovereignty.