Food Aid Impacts

1 March 2008

•The United Nations World Food Programme is facing an ‘unacceptable’ choice of either providing 40 percent less food per recipient or reaching out to 40 percent fewer people due to a budget gap of US$500 million for 2008. The shortfall was mainly caused by a 40-percent rise in commodity prices since 2007. Among examples of the ‘newly hungry’ cited by the agency were:

– 2.5 million people in Afghanistan, who cannot afford the price of wheat, which rose more than 60 percent in 2007.

– Consumers in Bangladesh, where the price of rice has risen 25 to 30 percent over the last three months. In 2007, the price increased about 70 percent.

– Rural communities in El Salvador, who are buying 50 percent less food than they did 18 months ago with the same amount of money. This means their nutritional intake, on an already poor diet, is cut by half.

• Citing a 41-percent increase in the cost of running its Food for Peace programme over the last six months, the US Agency for International Development is scaling back emergency food aid, potentially affecting up to eight million people. USAID is currently conducting a country- by-country assessment of food price increases in order to prioritise assistance to would-be beneficiaries.

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