Agriculture and the State: Growth, Employment, and Poverty in Developing Countries

By C. Peter Timmer | Go to book overview

8
Food Aid, Development,
and Food Security

Edward Clay

A combination of reasons makes it particularly worthwhile at the beginning of the 1990s to look at the relationship between food aid, agricultural development, and food security in developing countries. In the years following the world food crisis of 1972-74, at least partial international agreement was obtained on measures to increase international food security. In the latter part of that decade, several institutional changes were made, particularly at the international level and in bilateral food aid programs. The result of the World Food Conference of 1974 and the Third Food Aid Convention of 1980 was a virtual reconstruction of the regime for food aid.

Circumstances changed dramatically, however, in the decade of the 1980s. The experience of the African food crisis and its aftermath raised questions about the effectiveness of these international arrangements to cope in the future if there is an extremely serious and widespread period of food insecurity. Coping with shortfalls in local food supplies was made more difficult by sharp price variability in world markets for cereals and other foodstuffs and by the barriers to food security imposed on developing countries by the world agricultural trade regime. Developing countries cannot count on the willingness of donor countries to incur the domestic costs necessary to provide meaningful assistance to those countries seeking efficient means of providing reliable food supplies to their population. The combination of firmer cereal markets and budgetary tightening, particularly in the United States, which provides about half the com

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