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Revisiting Need Assessments and alternatives to food aid

Revisiting Need Assessments and alternatives to food aid A review of the Southern Africa food crisis in 2001-2003 The Southern Africa food crisis in 2001-2003 6 countries affected: Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Zambia 4 millions metric tons deficit for cereals food aid requirement: 1,2 million metric tons 12,8 millions people in need of food aid Two main instruments The estimate of food balance at national level (CFSAM) The estimate of food needs at household level (SCF’s Household Economy Approach) Context of the food crisis (1/2) Characteristics of agricultural production in Southern Africa: the maize economy A dual system of production Context of the crisis (2/2) Fragility of the production system by small scale farmers Role of the parastatals in food production and consumption Commercial farming Relevance of need assesments in this context ? Limits of the estimation of national food deficits Estimate of per caput consumption Food deficit = food aid Non cereal crops Informal trade and cross border exchanges Speculation and hoarding Spacial and social repartition of the production Limit of the estimate of the hh food deficit Food availability: production and changes in food habits Purchasing power: income and food prices A more fundamental limit: Alternatives to free food agricultural support through subsidisation of seeds and fertilisers. marketing food at subsidised prices channelling food or cash through National Public Work Schemes social safety nets schemes (e.g.PWAS in Zambia) Comparing 2002 to 1992 In 1992,… More balance of payment support to States More direct involvement of States and civil society Less direct free food Better coordination between the different channels of assistance A new role for humanitarian organisations ? (1/2) Reduction or removal of States’intervention in food production Market liberalisation and instability of prices Withdrawal of States’intervention in safety nets A new role for humanitarian organisations ? (2/2) Replacing national mechanisms for food security Replacing national safety nets Instrument of donors’policies and agendas (e.g.dumping of US food)