Notes to broadcasters on food donations

    | May 9, 2011

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    This story highlights some issues related to food aid. While food aid saves lives and is vital in emergency situations, some argue that long-term food aid can be detrimental to local economies, can create dependence, or may be politically motivated. In this story, some villagers found food aid unnecessary. The story shows the difficulty of determining when food aid should be suspended and other forms of support offered. Situations on the ground often change faster than agencies can assess.

    This detailed article examines the politics and definitions of food aid:

    The United Nations World Food Programme is responsible for most food aid globally. For more information on their policies and operations, visit:

    Here are some previous Farm Radio International scripts on post-conflict situations:

    Rebuilding Local Seed Supplies After Armed Conflict or Other Emergency Situations. Package 67, Script 1, June 2003.

    Conflict over natural resources: A short story. Package 67, Script 7, June 2003.
    Dispute over a sacred stream: Villagers describe the conflict. Package 67, Script 6, June 2003.

    Here is a Farm Radio Weekly story related to access to farmland in DRC:

    DRC: Addressing land disputes through decentralization and mediation (FRW 122, August 2010)

    The issue of food aid often sparks heated discussions. Especially in regions where people often experience hunger, the work of NGOs and the World Food Programme in providing food assistance is carefully examined. You may wish to plan a program on this topic to highlight current thinking and generate a discussion based on local or regional circumstances. You could begin by examining some of the following questions:

    -Should certain criteria be met in order to justify food aid? If so, what conditions indicate a need for food aid?  

    -What are the reasons that food aid is often reported as taking too long to reach hungry populations?

    -Are genetically modified crops acceptable as food aid? Why or why not?

    -Should more efforts be made to source food in-country or regionally? How could this be done in your region? What (positive or negative) effects might this have on national food security?

    -What criteria indicate that it is the right time to stop food aid and move to long-term development efforts?

    -How can farmers have more voice in food aid discussions?