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Food Dumping [Aid] Maintains Poverty

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  • by Anup Shah
  • This page last updated

In the industrialized northern countries, we instinctively believe that food aid is a very worthy cause and many do their utmost to genuinely help in this field. Web sites like the allow you to simply click a link and thereby donate food to someone in need in a developing country. However, there is more to it that selecting on a link.

In fact, if priority is not placed on the political root causes of hunger, sites like this may unwittingly contribute to the harm that has already been inflicted on the poor in developing countries because the poor countries will remain dependent. (Providing free food in emergency situations of course is usually welcome, but we are concerned with systemic root causes of hunger in non-emergency situations here as some one sixth of humanity goes hungry each day in non-emergency situations.)

3 articles on “Food Dumping [Aid] Maintains Poverty” and 4 related issues:

Food Aid as Dumping

The way the food aid programs of various rich countries is structured may be of concern. In fact, food aid (when not for emergency relief) can actually be very destructive on the economy of the recipient nation. Dumping food on to poorer nations (i.e. free, subsidized, or cheap food, below market prices) undercuts local farmers, who cannot compete and are driven out of jobs and into poverty, further slanting the market share of the larger producers such as those from the US and Europe.

Read “Food Aid as Dumping” to learn more.

Myth: More US aid will help the hungry

With kind permission from Peter Rosset of the Institute for Food and Development Policy (or as it is also known), chapter 10 of World Hunger: 12 Myths, 2nd Edition, by Frances Moore Lappé, Joseph Collins and Peter Rosset, with Luis Esparza (fully revised and updated, Grove/Atlantic and Food First Books, Oct. 1998) has been posted here. It describes in detail the issue of food aid and the United States of America’s aid policies, the problems it causes and who it really benefits.

Read “Myth: More US aid will help the hungry” to learn more.

World hunger related links for more information

Links to web sites and articles that discuss world hunger, the relationship between populations and hunger, of poverty and hunger, agricultural issues, land rights and so on.

Read “World hunger related links for more information” to learn more.

Food and Agriculture Issues

Food and agriculture goes to the heart of our civilizations. Religions, cultures and even modern civilization have food and agriculture at their core. For an issue that goes to the heart of humanity it also has its ugly side.

This issue explores topics ranging from the global food crisis of 2008, to issues of food aid, world hunger, food dumping and wasteful agriculture such as growing tobacco, sugar, beef, and more.

Read “Food and Agriculture Issues” to learn more.

World Hunger and Poverty

Meaningful long-term alleviation of hunger is rooted in the alleviation of poverty, as poverty leads to hunger. World hunger is a terrible symptom of world poverty. If efforts are only directed at providing food, or improving food production or distribution, then the structural root causes that create hunger, poverty and dependency would still remain. While resources and energies are deployed to relieve hunger through technical measures such as improving agriculture, and as important as these are, inter-related issues such as poverty means that political solutions are likely required as well for meaningful and long term hunger alleviation.

Read “World Hunger and Poverty” to learn more.


There are numerous forms of aid, from humanitarian emergency assistance, to longer term development aid. Some provide food aid, or military assistance, but all these forms of aid seem to be accompanied with criticism, either around inefficiency of delivery, or of political agendas or more. This section attempts to look at some of these issues.

Read “Aid” to learn more.

Causes of Poverty

Poverty is the state for the majority of the world’s people and nations. Why is this? Is it enough to blame poor people for their own predicament? Have they been lazy, made poor decisions, and been solely responsible for their plight? What about their governments? Have they pursued policies that actually harm successful development? Such causes of poverty and inequality are no doubt real. But deeper and more global causes of poverty are often less discussed.

Read “Causes of Poverty” to learn more.

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  • by Anup Shah
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