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close this bookTackling Hunger in a World Full of Food: Tasks Ahead for Food Aid (WFP)
close this folder5. The evolving nature of food aid and future needs
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View the documentA focus on hungry people, especially in emergencies
View the documentA focus on food-deficit countries
View the documentMore targeted interventions
View the documentDeclining food aid supply
View the documentProjections of food aid requirements

A focus on hungry people, especially in emergencies

People are at the forefront of food aid concerns
5.4 First, there has been a shift of attention from national food issues to hungry people. People have come to the forefront of food aid concerns-balance sheets, tonnage figures and surplus disposal have become secondary. As part of this trend there is a new focus on actions against hunger, particularly in the context of humanitarian emergencies. This does not, of course, rule out development interventions, nor minimize their importance. The only lasting solution to hunger is sustainable food security based on investments of a developmental nature. However, development initiatives in vulnerable regions are increasingly linked to the requirements of relief, rehabilitation, disaster preparedness and preventive measures.
5.5 The surge in demand for emergency food aid, associated with the end of the Cold War, reached a record high of 35 percent of total food aid in 1994. During the 1970s, emergency food aid represented some 10 percent of the total; during the first half of the 1990s the share rose to almost 30 percent (WFP 1995).
5.6 So far most of the increased share of emergency resources has come at the expense of programme food aid (Figure 2). The share of programme aid, mostly bilateral donations for balance-of-payments support, has fallen from almost 75 percent of total food aid in the 1960s and 1970s to 43 percent in 1994 (WFP 1995b). Levels of project food aid, while also declining in recent years, have remained somewhat more stable. In 1986/87, when world cereal stocks had reached a historic high and real prices for cereals had fallen to a historic low, almost 30 percent of global food aid was provided for development projects. Since then, the share of project food aid has fallen to around 22 percent.