LAWG Letter
Vol.V, No.6. Food Aid: Blessed Are the Givers

Publisher:  Latin American Working Group (LAWG), Toronto, Canada
Year Published:  1978  
Inactive Serial

Resource Type:  Serial Publication (Periodical)
Cx Number:  CX838
Inactive/Defunct Periodical
An article that critically analyses the reasons for the admitted failure of the Canadian International Development Agency's quarter of a billion annual food aid program in the Third World while hunger continues to grow. The reason suggested for both is the same, namely, that it "blesses the giver far more than the receiver."

Abstract:  As stated in the LAWG Letter editorial, the leading article entitled "Food Aid: Blessed Are the Givers" is one product of LAWG's research into Canadian aid during the last few years. It critically analyses the reasons for the admitted failure of the Canadian International Development Agency's quarter of a billion annual food aid program in the Third World while hunger continues to grow. The reason suggested for both is the same, namely, that it "blesses the giver far more than the receiver."
Citing the United States as Canada's natural tutor on the subject of self-interest in food aid, the authors trace Washington's policy objective in regard to food transfers to Greece, China, Italy, France, India, Bangladesh, Chile, South Vietnam, Cambodia and South Korea. Such a "food power play" has enabled the United States to transform "butter into bullets" in support of repressive and elitist governments, they say.
Canada's food aid program, they point out, has tended to be regarded in Ottawa as aid to our domestic economy based on "surplus disposal". Moreover, Canada's disbursement of wheat aid has taken a backseat to commercial food exports since 1971 when international wheat process skyrocketed. Left-over give-aways like milk powder, rapeseed, cheese, fish and egg powder are listed as examples of Canadian self-interest, even in tragic emergencies such as the 1976 earthquake in Guatemala.
Questioning the rationale for food aid when food gifts of industrialized countries help neither the hungry consumer nor the small struggling farmer, the authors do not deny the need for relief in emergency situations. Food aid, they point out, is not development. Not until we move away from a food system that "...aims more at producing profit than feeding people" can there be a solution to the agricultural problems either of Canada or of the Third World."

Periodical profile published 1978



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