Skip to main content Skip to footer

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)