The State of Food and Agriculture

One third of the global food aid budget, or some USD 600 million annually, is wasted due to conditions tying it to processing and shipping by national carriers of donor countries, and such in-kind aid should be replaced by cash payments that boost production in recipient States, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said this week. “Cash-based transfers or food vouchers can stimulate local production, strengthen local food systems and empower recipients in ways that traditional food aid cannot,” FAO stressed in the latest edition of its flagship annual report, The State of Food and Agriculture (SOFA), noting that in-kind aid may sometimes do more harm than good. “Whenever possible, it is always ‘better to teach and help people to fish rather than to give them fish,’” FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf said in introducing the report, which proposes major changes in the way food aid is managed and delivered.

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