International Food Assistance: Lessons Learned and Future Directions

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Feb 26, 2016 by Fintrac Inc

Fintrac’s Food Analytics department has launched a briefing series that covers critical topics in global agricultural development and food security by drawing from lessons learned and research conducted under numerous USAID-funded projects implemented by the company over the years.

The most recent brief provides a primer on international food assistance and teases apart the nuance behind the different types and aspects of this assistance. It explores at greater depth how various tools, such as US-grown food aid and/or food vouchers for locally-produced grains, can maximize impact for beneficiaries and support local economies.

With the evolving landscape for international food aid that includes an array of food assistance tools, all stakeholders must understand market conditions and food preferences to ensure a food assistance program supports agricultural markets. Whether donors, non-governmental organizations, and governments seek direct distribution, cash transfers, and/or vouchers, they must consider and carefully evaluate the potential market impact, operating context, and beneficiary needs. Only a thorough analysis can yield a well-designed program with minimal market distortions and greater positive impact on household food security.

Do you have experience designing or implementing a food assistance program? What did your program do to understand the operating context and market conditions? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.