Food aid and poverty

Barrett E. Kirwan, Margaret Mcmillan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Advocates of food aid argue that food aid is an effective means of reducing poverty and stimulates development when used for food or work programs. In addition, by reducing the requirement for food imports it has prevented large cumulative deficits in poor countries. On the other hand, critics argue that food aid increases the dependence of developing countries on food imports and that by importing very low cost or not cost at all, food imports rival the produce of local farmers. In Ethiopia, which is in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), it was found that net buyers of wheat are poorer than net sellers and the the benefit ratio are more favorable for poorer households. In the African continent itself, the continent is more threatened by the possibility of losing jobs to imported foods than it has ever witnessed in its history. Experience also had it that food aid is unreliable and has not delivered long-term developmental benefits to the poorest countries. Poor countries pay proportionately more of their income for cereals imports and receive proportionately less in cereals food aid than middle-income developing countries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1152-1160
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Agricultural Economics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 1 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics


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