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close this bookTackling Hunger in a World Full of Food: Tasks Ahead for Food Aid (WFP)
close this folder6. Tasks ahead
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentSaving life, rebuilding livelihoods
View the documentAttacking hunger from birth
View the documentAiding people to gain access to food
View the documentA sharper focus for the future

A sharper focus for the future

Food air must sustain and enhance lives
6.9 Food aid is a scarce resource. This is no longer debatable. It is a premium resource-a resource to serve people, not a bi-product of agriculture. By extension, more will be demanded of food aid than in the past. Food aided projects will have to match the standards of cost-effectiveness and efficiency of capital-assisted projects. And food aid will have to do more than save lives. It will have to sustain and enhance lives.
6.10 How can this be achieved? The answer lies, firstly, with a reallocation of supplies:

Shifting current food aid allocations from less-poor recipient countries to wards most needy cases (least-developed and low-income food deficit coun tries, of which there were 88 in the developing world in 1995);

Targeting a greater portion of food aid towards poorest regions of those countries, avoiding unsustainable national-level programmes.

Ensuring that food resources are effectively delivered into the hands of people who have most responsibility for household food security; typically women.

Achieving greater stability in food aid supplies, at least for interventions designed to help the most hungry, particularly in years of volatile world food prices.


Food aid alone is not enough
6.11 The second part of the answer lies with a greater mutual support between food and non-food resources. Food aid alone will not be able to adequately address the scale of hunger that will face us in coming decades. Efforts aimed at raising agricultural productivity and output as well as purchasing power among hungry people and food-deficit countries must be stepped up. Yet, neither will increased food production or complementary financial transfers be sufficient to tackle the problems of food security, particularly among the millions facing hunger in more remote regions. While food deficits related to 'permanent' emergencies, weak markets, inappropriate economic policies and armed conflict continue to cripple growth in many countries there will be a crucial role to be played by targeted food aid.
6.12 Closer partnerships are needed between food and non-food resources to ensure that hunger is treated as a mainstream development problem. Recent efforts to better integrate food aid into recipient country food security and nutrition strategies and safety-net programmes have to be broadened and strengthened. The planning of food assistance on the basis of country-specific strategies, and its integration with other assistance, is a first step toward more effective partnerships. Beyond that, government, donor and NGO partners all need to be present and effective in regions, and among households, worst-affected by hunger if we are to maximize the potential impact of food aid and other investments on hungry people.