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

By C. Peter Timmer | Go to book overview

9
Whither Food Aid?
A Comment

Walter P. Falcon

Chapter 8 provides a thoughtful, balanced assessment of food aid as it has evolved in theory and practice over the past thirty-five years. This chapter extends Clay's historical assessment and examines three dimensions of future food aid: the effects of the Uruguay Round of trade negotiations, the impact of new U.S. agricultural legislation, and the prospects for improved implementation of food programs. For reasons of complementarity, these comments also focus mainly on donors, and especially on the role of the United States.


History of U.S. Food Aid

A cynic would summarize the history of U.S. food aid in three phases: "mostly grains," "mostly to Asia," and "mostly to friends." Although this assessment is correct as far as it goes, a current review of food aid would indicate four trends that are also worth noting. First, there has been a regional switch in total food aid to Sub‐ Saharan Africa. In 1975, for example, only about 10 percent of global food aid went to that region; by contrast, total food aid shipments to Sub-Saharan Africa in 1985 were up by a factor of seven and constituted about 45 percent of global shipments ( Schultz, 1987, p. 139). The regional pattern of U.S. shipments changed much less, however, and the 1989 foreign assistance request to Congress showed that less than 15 percent of the combined total food aid under Titles

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