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Wednesday, 09 March 2011

Oxfam calls for radical shake up of food aid

International agency Oxfam today called for a radical shake up of the Food Aid Convention, being negotiated in London this week (week commencing 28 February), to ensure the burgeoning number of hungry people in the world get the predictable, timely and appropriate aid they need. The agency wants to see the new treaty accelerate the switch to cash and other food-related assistance, in an effort to bring food aid in line with ways to improvements to small-scale farm production and plans to help deal with the effects of widely-fluctuating food prices. The Convention, which in its current form expires this year, holds major food aid donors – the US, EU, Japan, Canada, Australia and others – to provide minimum amounts of food aid to address emergency needs. Emergency food aid levels stood at $3.6bn in 2008, just under a third of all official western humanitarian aid. “In the vast majority of emergency food crises the problem is not a scarcity of food but people’s ability to buy the food that is available. In most cases hungry people need money to buy food and cannot afford to wait for the arrival of a ship laden with food that has travelled halfway round the world.”

Source: Oxfam