, Volume 22, Issue 3, pp 137–144 | Cite as

Food aid: An effective instrument of development policy?

  • Siegfried Schultz
Articles North-South Relations


After over thirty years experience with food aid, there is consensus only on its use as a means of mitigating acute distress; except with regard to disaster relief of that kind, opinions are divided on the rationale of food aid deliveries from industrial countries with a food surplus to Third World countries with a deficit. What are the main arguments for and against food aid, and in which direction has the EC’s food aid programme developed?


Recipient Country Disaster Relief Donor Country Food Strategy Commercial Import 
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  1. 1.
    OECD: Development Co-operation (“Chairman’s Report”), 1985 Review, p. 221; FAO: Review of food aid and policies and programmes, WFP/CFA: 21/5, 27th March 1986, Table 3.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Based on food aid disbursements of DAC members of the OECD (from FAO: Food aid and food security: past performance and future potential, Economic and Social Development Paper, No. 55, Rome 1985, p. 43) and trade statistics from UN Bulletin of Statistics, No. 5/85.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    For a detailed bibliography, see the German version of this paper.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    The use of milk powder can actually damage the health of persons who cannot tolerate lactose.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    This may even be the donor’s intention, as explicitly stated in the case of the American RL. 480 programme.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    The UN/FAO World Food Programme (WFP) is prohibited from marketing food aid products in recipient countries; exceptions require specific authorisation.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    EG Magazin, No. 7/83.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    |See inter alia S. J. Maxwell (ed): An evaluation of the EEC food aid programme, Institute of Development Studies/Afrikaburo, Brighton/ Cologne 1982.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    |Cf. World Bank: World Development Report 1986, Washington, D.C., 1986.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    In 1984 and 1985 the EC purchased around 10% of Community food aid in developing countries; in the case of bilateral food aid donated by the Federal Republic of Germany, the proportion was around 30% in each of the two years.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Article 3 of Council Regulation (EEC) No. 3972/86 of 22nd December 1986 on food-aid policy and food-aid management, in: Official Journal of the European Communities, No. L 370,30th December 1986.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    See H.W. Singer: Asummarysurveyofstudiesoffoodaid,in:H. Schneider (ed.): Food Aid for Development, OECD/Development Centre, Paris 1978, pp. 45 f.; C. Stevens: Food aid: good, bad, or indifferent? Evidence of four African case studies, also in H. Schneider (ed.), op. cit, p. 54; M. Metz: Food aid: consequence or cause of widening food gaps in developing countries? Discussion paper, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin, IIV6/dp 81-129, pp. 4 f. and 9-11; H. Brandt: Food security programmes in the Sudano-Sahel, Deutsches Institut fur Entwicklungspolitik, Occasional Paper No. 78, Berlin 1984, pp. 50 f.; see also H. Schneider: Food aid issues from the recipient countries’ perspective, unpublished paper presented to the symposium on “The European Community’s Development Policy: The Strategies Ahead”, Bruges, July 1985.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Price supply elasticities of between 0.1 and 0.2 are given in evaluations of food security projects. Reasons for differences in supplier behaviour (differences in the level of resources and in theirwillingness to take risks) are given inH. Schneider: Meeting food needs in a context of change, OECD/Development Centre Studies, Paris 1984, pp. 122 f.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    See inter alia World Bank: Poverty and Hunger: issues and options for food security in developing countries, Washington, D.C., 1986.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Including overvaluation of the currency, which makes food imports cheaper.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© HWWA and Springer-Verlag 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Siegfried Schultz
    • 1
  1. 1.Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung (DIW)Berlin

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