The Food Aid Convention (FAC)

FAO logoFAO participated in the Workshop on the Food Aid Convention organized on 22 October 2010 by the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Foreign trade and Development Cooperation, assuming the Belgian Presidency of the EU.

FAO (Abdolreza Abassian, senior economist, Market and Trade Unit) presented the report on “Promoting agricultural inputs under the Food Aid Convention to increase food production in emergency-prone developing countries” (P. Konandreas, 2010). The Food Aid Convention was created in 1967 to carry out a food aid program with the help of donor’s contributions for the benefit of the developing countries. Its last revision is from 1999.

The convention needs to be revised to meet the realities of the 21st century. The new Convention should be incorporated under the Doha Round Agreement when concluded. Emergency situations have become increasingly frequent over the last 30 years (most of them being in Africa, Asia).The FAC was targeting 10 years ago 35 million people and is now targeting 22 million of people per year. The responses to the crises are addressing the immediate humanitarian needs. However, achieving food security requires an integrated approach combining short term relief measures with long term strategies. Covering the immediate humanitarian needs is not providing a sustainable solution. Intervention should address the reason of food insecurity, should include measures to increase the agricultural productivity, to support marketing channels and the provision of basic inputs for food production.

In the past, food aid was delivered as in-kind support. The new Local purchase  (like P4P program) are preferred, being cheaper than in-kind aid. They can also generate development benefits to local markets and farmers. There should be a better integration of emergency interventions and long-term development operations, to avoid future crisis.

The new Food Aid Convention should incorporate agricultural inputs (seeds, fertilizers, farming tools) as part of the donor’s contributions, to recover from emergency and avoid continuing dependence from outside food assistance. The FAC include now seeds provision up to 7% excluding the transport. The amount is actually expressed in wheat equivalent and should be simplified. Nutrition principles should be included in the revised version.


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