Food Production and Supply Policies

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The cases in this section present and discuss various policy options to assist farmers to expand production, increase incomes, improve food security, and manage production and market risks. Emphasis is on policies that mitigate the negative effects of potential or actual famines, droughts, and a series of other threats facing small farmers and pastoralists. The cases also discuss land distribution policies, research and technology policies, and policies that facilitate the production of biofuel without negative effects on food security.


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Now showing 1 - 10 of 13
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    Development Issues in the Traditional Livestock Sector of the Kyrgyz Republic
    Nefedjev, Ivan; Bolotbekova, Aida (CUL Initiatives in Publishing (CIP), 2016)
    The Kyrgyz Republic is a country in Central Asia with an area of 199.9 square kilometers and a population of 6 million. More than three-quarters of the territory is covered by mountains. The share of agriculture in GDP is 14.7 percent. Livestock production is one of the leading sectors of Kyrgyz agriculture. The share of livestock products in the total volume of agricultural gross output was 47.6 percent in 2014 [1]. As a result of historical, cultural, and geographical factors, for centuries Kyrgyz farmers practiced a nomadic type of livestock farming with three kinds of pastures: near-village pastures (usually used during the winter and located close to the villages in the valleys), intensively used pastures (used during spring and autumn, located at the foot of the mountains), and nomadic or distant pastures (for summer grazing in the highlands). The Kyrgyz Republic is a mountainous country with a rather fragile natural environment. Nomadic livestock production is one of the few options available for reclaiming desert and mountain landscapes. The stability of this interaction depends on many factors: the traditions of livestock farming, public policy, government development strategies and livestock legislation, market conditions and access to information, the institutional environment, and the effects of climate change, among others [2]. At present, the grazing situation varies for different livestock owners. There are nomads who drive their herds to summer pastures (nomadic type), and there are small farmers (who make up the bulk of the country's farmers) who use only near-village pastures all year round for various reasons. This imbalance causes pasture degradation that has a direct impact on livestock nutrition. The other stakeholder groups are state authorities of the Kyrgyz Republic; organizations representing the interests of farmers; donors and organizations with interests in the region and in neighboring states. All of these stakeholders have different interests, mechanisms, and power for changing the situation. The pressure from intense grazing, especially in near-village pastures, is several times higher than recommended. This naturally leads to lower productivity–since 1990 the productivity of near-village pastures decreased threefold, from 300 to 100 kilograms per hectare [3]. On the other hand, remote pastures are often degraded because of lack of use (for example, they become overgrown with weeds, which are not suitable for feeding cattle). Access to distant pastures is limited because of problems with the infrastructure, financial difficulties, legal restrictions, and so on. This study is devoted to the analysis of possible changes that could be made at the local and national level to improve Kyrgyz nomad livestock farming. Policy recommendations–such as integrating databases that monitor pasture conditions; broadening the pasture committees so that they include all groups of pasture users; supporting farmers who have a small number of cattle; investigating the experience of neighboring countries; and reconstructing infrastructure–are suggested.
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    Urban Agriculture in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
    Schmidt, Stephan (CUL Initiatives in Publishing (CIP), 2011)
    Rapid urbanization in Sub-Saharan Africa has led to serious concerns about household food security in urban areas. Urban agriculture, which includes both crop production and livestock raising, has been recognized as serving an important role in the economic, social, and dietary life of many cities in Sub-Saharan Africa. In addition to being an important source of fresh produce, meat, and dairy products for consumers, it plays a vital economic role as a source of income for producers and distributors and also serves a socializing function for farmers, communities, and neighborhoods. In addition, urban agriculture has a number of secondary impacts, including reducing food transportation costs and providing environmental benefits. Whether practiced at the subsistence level or undertaken as a way to supplement income by a professional, urban agriculture is a widely practiced, integral component of the urban environment. Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, one of the fastest-growing cities in Sub-Saharan Africa, faces a number of problems associated with such growth, including food insecurity, poor access to clean water, inadequate housing, unemployment and lack of education, and difficulties providing basic services and infrastructure. Agriculture addresses some of these concerns by serving as an important source of locally available produce and employing a substantial number of people. Because of the absence of processing, storage, and distribution facilities in much of Tanzania, urban agriculture will continue to play a vital role in the social, economic, and nutritional life of the city of Dar es Salaam. However, although urban agriculture clearly plays an important role in providing food and income in Dar es Salaam, the practice is largely unregulated and unplanned and faces a myriad of institutional, organizational, economic, and environmental problems. Your assignment is to advise national and city governments on how best to facilitate the sustainable development of urban agriculture as an integral part of the urban environment and the social fabric of the city. The policy options are organized into the following broadly construed categories according to the appropriate role and level of government in enhancing and protecting urban agricultural activities. First, promoting urban agriculture requires leadership from the national government, in particular, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security and the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries, in order to be successful and to address the myriad problems facing it, and to better facilitate, promote, and coordinate urban agricultural activities. Second, because land use planning is primarily a function of local government, the municipal councils could better incorporate urban agriculture activities into the planning process to ensure that agriculture is recognized as a major activity in urban and peri-urban areas. Third, both national and local governments could accept that urban agriculture is an established component of the informal economy. To this end, the role of both the national and local governments is primarily that of an enabler of agricultural operations and to ensure that adequate legal protection is provided to producers and sufficient health information is made available to the public.
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    The Fertilizer Subsidy Program in Sri Lanka
    Weerahewa, Jeevika; Kodithuwakku, Sarath S.; Ariyawardana, Anoma (CUL Initiatives in Publishing (CIP), 2010)
    Rice is not only the staple food of Sri Lanka, but also a part and parcel of the rural livelihood of the country. The Government of Sri Lanka has introduced a number of policies and programs to increase paddy production since independence. The fertilizer subsidy program is one of the longest-lasting, most expensive, and most politically sensitive policies implemented to promote rice cultivation in Sri Lanka. It was initiated in 1962 (that is, at the onset of the Green Revolution) with the main objective of encouraging farmers to switch from traditional rice varieties to high-yielding varieties (HYVs) that are highly responsive to chemical fertilizers. Since then, however, the provision of the subsidy has become customary, and successive governments have been under tremendous pressure to continue the subsidy despite budgetary constraints. The subsidy policy has evolved over time. During the period 1962–89 the subsidy was provided for all three main types of fertilizers—nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K)—targeted primarily at paddy. Subsidies were not provided during 1990-94 but were reintroduced in 1995 for all three types of fertilizers. The subsidy was limited to urea during 1997–2004. Since 2005, the subsidy has again been expanded to cover all three types. The price of a 50-kilogram bag of fertilizer has been set at US$3.07 regardless of the world market price. Paddy farmers are eligible to apply for the fertilizer subsidy provided that they have legal title to their paddy lands.2 The subsidy payment constitutes 2.24 percent of total government expenditures and has become a massive burden on the Treasury. It is widely accepted that the fertilizer subsidy has led to increased land productivity and encouraged farmers to expand the land under paddy cultivation (Central Bank of Sri Lanka, various years). It has, however, resulted in certain policy failures too. Once purchased, fertilizer is also applied to paddy that is cultivated on lands without legal titles as well as to crops other than paddy. Furthermore, the media often report on inefficiencies associated with the distribution of fertilizer by the Agrarian Services Centers (ASCs) of the Ministry of Agricultural Development and Agrarian Services. Certain environmentalists, based on their preliminary findings, have initiated discussions in the public media of the pollution of waterways by heavy metals, such as cadmium, caused by application of inorganic fertilizer. They also argue that accumulation of cadmium in water bodies as well as in plant and animal tissues have led to increased prevalence of chronic renal failures. Paddy cultivation provides livelihood opportunities for more than 1.8 million farmers in the country, and hence the government has been under constant pressure to continue the fertilizer subsidy. Any significant deviation from the status quo could damage the political power base of the ruling party. Your assignment is to propose amendments to the prevailing fertilizer subsidy policy, assuming that the Sri Lankan government will have to make appropriate revisions to the current policy in order to more efficiently and effectively achieve several objectives: (1) support the livelihoods of paddy farmers; (2) achieve national self-sufficiency in rice; (3) reduce the burden on the Treasury; (4) curtail transaction costs and inefficiencies associated with distribution; and (5) minimize environmental pollution due to the overapplication of fertilizer.
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    The Black Bengal Goat as a Tool to Promote Sustainable Livelihoods in Rural West Bengal
    Biswas, Subhasish (CUL Initiatives in Publishing (CIP), 2010)
    Goats are an integral part of rural India's symbiotic system of crop and livestock production and make up a significant part of the livestock wealth of the country. Over the past 25 years or so, the Indian livestock industry has progressed from a situation of scarcity to one of plenty. Although the share of agriculture in India's gross domestic product had been declining since the country's independence in 1947, there was an increasing trend in the value of output from livestock as a share of GDP (GOI 1998). Goats are among the main meat-producing animals in India, and goat meat (chevon) faces huge domestic demand, with no social, cultural, and religious restrictions. Despite the popularity of goat meat, goat rearing has not been conducted as either a large- or a small-scale industry in the state of West Bengal or in India as a whole. Among the 20 well-defined breeds of goats in India, the black Bengal is a dwarf breed, highly prolific, and famous for its superior-quality meat and skin. In West Bengal, it is commonly known as the poor man's cow. India has more than 124 million goats, which account for more than 25 percent of the country's total livestock and contribute more than Rs. 106 billion annually to the national economy, providing food and nutritional security to millions of marginal and small farmers and agricultural laborers (Kumar 2007). A number of factors make the rearing of black Bengal goats a preferred option among marginal and small farmers (those having less than one hectare of land) and even landless farmers, who depend on common grazing and forest lands for fodder. These factors include low capital intensity, prolific breeding, superior chevon quality, early sexual maturity, high-quality skin, low kidding intervals, good adaptability, no religious taboo against consumption, and steady returns (Dixit and Shukla 1995). Under the prevailing traditional production system, however, the productivity of goats is very low (Singh and Kumar 2007). Mortality and morbidity losses due to disease in goats have been high in traditional flocks (Kumar 2007). Unfortunately, little attention has been paid to improving the genetics and productivity of black Bengal goats. Proper marketing and the application of modern technology and advanced management systems in goat rearing could bring about a significant change in the market for goat meat. A coordinated approach might be initiated to increase the productivity of goat production by improving management practices, enhancing nutritional inputs, and minimizing morbidity and mortality from traditional and emerging diseases (such as goat pox, pneumonia, andpeste des petits ruminants [PPR]). To achieve this new approach, national policy makers could transmit scientific guidelines to implementing agencies, preferably at the level of local self-government (panchayats). Bridging the national and local efforts, the state veterinary department, research organizations, and state government should play major roles. Veterinary education institutions can also be consulted on the training of the primary stakeholders—that is, livestock raisers and farmers—in scientific rearing, slaughtering, and processing of goat. Your assignment is to advise national policy makers and state animal resources development departments to formulate a strategy to improve the livelihoods of small and marginal farmers in West Bengal through improved productivity and use of the black Bengal goat and to conserve the related germplasm.
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    Pros and Cons of Cotton Production in Uzbekistan
    Djanibekov, Nodir; Rudenko, Inna; Lamers, John P. A.; Bobojonov, Ihtiyor (CUL Initiatives in Publishing (CIP), 2010)
    Cotton production and export have a long history in Uzbekistan. The production of cotton, also called white gold, has long been a strategic centerpiece of the economy of Uzbekistan, which ranks second among world cotton exporters. Despite the declared objective of the Government of Uzbekistan—a market-oriented transition and liberalization—the government has not loosened its grip on the entire cotton value chain, including the centralized setting of prices through the state procurement system. This system focuses on implicit taxation of cotton producers, which represents an important source of government revenue. Annual cotton production targets set by the state call for cotton cultivation on more than 50 percent of total cropland. This case study considers the pros and cons of cotton production in Uzbekistan. Since the country's independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, revenues from cotton taxation have contributed substantially to developing the industrial sector, boosting the current account, achieving energy and food-grain self-sufficiency, and buffering domestic shocks in food and energy prices. Nonetheless, some argue that the state procurement system hampers the development of the agricultural sector. Often the payments for cotton hardly cover farmers' production costs, and the quasi monoculture of cotton production has adversely affected environmental sustainability. The stakeholders of cotton production in Uzbekistan—the government, farmers, the textile industry, and the rural population—face several policy options for improving the economic and ecological performance of cotton production. The concerns of each stakeholder must be taken into account when choosing what policy measure to use for improving cotton production. Your assignment is to recommend to the relevant stakeholders an appropriate policy or set of policies to ensure economic growth in the cotton sector, taking into account the trade-offs between the state and farmers as well as potential short- and long-term effects of recommendations on the national economy, social security, and the environment.
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    Biodiesel and India's Rural Economy
    Rhoads, James (CUL Initiatives in Publishing (CIP), 2007)
    With annual economic growth rates of more than 7 percent and a population of well over a billion, India has a huge amount of global clout, both economically and environmentally. Although this recent economic growth has lifted millions out of dire poverty, millions more remain marginalized from the booming economy, and India will require massive amounts of resources to achieve its goal of reaching the status of a “developed” nation. Moreover, this growth must be achieved sustainably to prevent the short-term impacts from being overshadowed by long-term environmental degradation. Alternative energy sources will play a role in maintaining economic growth while also addressing the growing concerns about sustainability. Biodiesel, a plant-based substitute for fossil diesel, reduces the carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and particulates emitted from internal combustion engines. It is a technology that can reduce dependence on oil imports and the negative environmental impacts of burning fossil fuels, while at the same time offering potential growth in the rural economy. The government of India argues that biodiesel production, especially from the planting of Jatropha curcas on degraded or marginal lands, could play a significant role in addressing these economic and environmental concerns while also creating a vibrant new rural industry. A major initiative is currently underway to simultaneously develop the production capacity of inedible oilseeds from Jatropha curcas and the infrastructure required to process the seed oil into biodiesel for use as transportation fuel. Thousands of jobs could be created, and millions of dollars could go to the struggling rural economy. There is little reason to question the continued growth of the oil market, and capturing a share of that market could offer enormous economic benefits to the rural sector. This case presents some of the difficulties and potential pitfalls of achieving those goals. These difficulties include technological and structural issues of production, such as developing the appropriate equipment and infrastructure for oilseed production and expelling, converting the oil to biodiesel, and developing end-user equipment. Ecological issues concern the lack of scientific information on the chosen species, including longterm research on agronomic issues relating to pests and disease, production techniques, and breeding of productive genotypes. Finally, social issues concern the development and implementation of appropriate policies and incentives that protect vulnerable populations from potential harm, in the form of lost labor opportunities, unfamiliar new markets for seed crop sales, and the potential for changing food prices due to displacement of less profitable food crop production. In conclusion, oilseed development policy must take into consideration the production limitations of individual small farmers, while still encouraging the sector to grow large enough to allow for economic production of biodiesel and to make a real environmental impact. Your assignment is to recommend to the government a policy to guide the development of biodiesel that takes into account the interests of the various stakeholder groups.
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    Farm Restructuring in Transition: Land Distribution in Russia
    Serova, Eugenia (CUL Initiatives in Publishing (CIP), 2007)
    The agrarian reform of the 1990s in Russia was targeted at transforming the formerly state-owned and centrally planned agriculture sector to a market-oriented one. The reform dramatically changed farm structure and land tenure in rural areas. The preconditions of the reform prohibited land restitution, as took place in many Eastern and Central European countries in transition. Instead, the major instrument of Russian reform was land sharing based on the allocation of conditional land shares, which were not indicated on the ground, to the rural population. This fragmentation of landownership was not coupled with the fragmentation of farming operations: the big farm enterprises were preserved but had to rent small land shares from their holders. Moreover, in the late 1990s huge agribusiness companies entered Russia's agricultural sector and rented hundreds of thousands of hectares for cultivation. Agricultural growth started to recover after 1998, but a severe contradiction between the system of fragmented land tenure and the prevailing largescale farm structure remained. For agribusiness investors, the process of gaining access to land had become costly and prolonged, hampering the growth of investment, and consequently, growth in the agrifood sector. The complicated systems of land registration laid a foundation for rent-seeking activity in land administration across the country, aggravating the problem of high transaction costs in the farmland market. On the other hand, the land share system provided the millions of rural dwellers with an additional source of income that was crucial given the severe fall in living standards stemming from the reforms in the countryside. The objective of increasing the efficiency of agriculture by consolidating land ownership thus contradicts the objective of protecting the civil rights of millions of land shareholders who were allotted their shares in the early 1990s. Around this problem four groups of stakeholders were formed. Domestic and foreign agribusiness investors are interested in consolidating land shares in farm enterprises and simplifying the land registry system. The land shareholders are also interested in reducing land transaction costs, but most of them have benefited from the possession and disposal of shares. The private firms that offer consulting and land engineering services are profiting from the existing land registry system, land transactions, and plurality of parties in farmland transactions. The land bureaucracy has a strong background of rent seeking in existing land tenure arrangements. Policy makers are debating several political options, some of which have already been introduced. The political challenge raised here is a typical one for the policy-making process—the contradiction between efficiency and social justice. The challenge is to find a compromise political decision that would balance the objective of economic growth in agriculture, which may require consolidating farmland in the hands of producers (which are mainly large in scale), with the objective of protecting the property rights of land shareholders, for many of whom these shares provide an important source of income. Your assignment is to find a political solution that will (1) make agriculture attractive for investors (domestic and international) by simplifying land transaction procedures, and (2) secure the rights of rural dwellers who received land shares through the reforms. Take into account the farm structure and land tenure systems that emerged in Russia after the agrarian reforms of the 1990s, current stakeholders' interests and the distribution of political forces in Russia, and the possible opposition to change by rent seekers in the land registration system.
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    Policy Measures for Pastoralists in Niger
    Phillips, Erica (CUL Initiatives in Publishing (CIP), 2007)
    Pastoralism is often misunderstood, labeled “backward” and “irrational,” and considered environmentally destructive by many policy makers. Bias toward settled farmers has historically dominated research institutions, governments, and development nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and some countries have attempted to forcibly settle their pastoralist populations. In many arid and semiarid regions, however, pastoralism is the best or only way humans can make productive use of natural resources. Pastoralists have adjusted to some of the harshest conditions in the world and have well-designed, adaptive livelihood strategies. In addition, pastoralists contribute to one of the strongest export sectors in certain countries—the meat market. Over the past few decades, multiple factors have threatened the livelihoods of Niger's pastoralists, causing pastoralists and agropastoralists to be some of the most food-insecure populations in the country. These factors include severe droughts, a decrease in accessible grazing land due to increased land pressure from growing farming populations, conflict over land, environmental degradation, and changing land tenure laws, which often bring ambiguity and a bias toward settled farmers. Mobility and access to grazing lands and water are essential to pastoralists' livelihoods and are their most important risk management strategies. Even with welldesigned livelihood strategies, if pastoralists lack access to secure grazing areas and water points, their livelihoods are in jeopardy. In an effort to better manage natural resources and protect its public goods, Niger's government has created a law that redefines who can claim land, who can use land, and who mediates conflicts over land. This law follows a trend among countries in the region, which have created laws devolving natural resource management to local communities, placing more control in the hands of community members themselves. Often, however, such laws have led pastoralists living in agropastoral zones to lose access to grazing land. Today, some policy makers ask if pastoralism can evolve, possibly by being integrated with farming, or if it is bound to fade away, consumed by modern society. Vital policies for sustaining and improving pastoralists' livelihoods include drafting realistic laws or mechanisms to facilitate ease of mobility and access to land. Other policy options include designing strategies to help pastoralists out of emergency situations caused by drought, improving market possibilities for livestock, promoting cooperation between settled and nonsettled groups, and conducting research into livestock management and mixed farming systems improvement. Your assignment is to create a policy package that would preserve the livelihoods of Niger's pastoralists. You must take into account the multiple interactions, needs, and priorities of all stakeholders and design policies that can support the livelihoods of all of these groups. You must also consider who has the capacity and which party or parties are best suited to enact these policy options.
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    Managing Drought Risks in the Low-Rainfall Areas of the Middle East and North Africa
    Hazell, Peter (CUL Initiatives in Publishing (CIP), 2007)
    The need to improve methods for managing drought risks in the low-rainfall areas of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) has increased in recent decades as population growth and climate change have contributed to greater demands on the resource base and accentuated both the incidence and severity of drought losses. Government interventions have typically been initiated on an ad hoc basis in response to crisis situations, and little thought is usually given to their long-term impacts on the way farmers and herders manage resources and the productivity of agropastoral systems. There is now accumulating evidence to show that once drought management interventions are institutionalized, they lead to changes in how resources are managed, including the increased cropping and privatization of rangeland resources and more settled patterns of livestock production. These changes can contribute to greater productivity and improved livelihoods. If drought management interventions are subsidized, however, they can also lead to moral hazard problems whereby herders adopt excessively risky farm management practices, with increased losses in drought years and a growing dependence on government assistance. Drought management interventions need to be designed so that they assist farmers and herders to better manage risk and to improve their productivity and incomes, but without distorting incentives in inappropriate ways. The experience with feed subsidy and credit programs in the MENA region has had mixed results, and although they have helped protect incomes and food security in drought years, they have had negative impacts on the way resources are managed. Better alternatives could be area-based rainfall insurance, particularly if offered by the private sector; the development of more accurate and accessible drought forecasting information; and a switch to safety nets that are tied to poverty criteria rather than agricultural outcomes. Your assignment is to propose an appropriate mix of drought management policies for the MENA region, giving careful thought to the kinds of additional information needed to inform these choices.
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    Famine and Food Insecurity in Ethiopia
    von Braun, Joachim; Olofinbiyi, Tolulope (CUL Initiatives in Publishing (CIP), 2007)
    Ethiopia, the second most populous country in Sub-Saharan Africa, is home to about 75 million people. The country has a tropical monsoon climate characterized by wide topographic-induced variations. With rainfall highly erratic, Ethiopia is usually at a high risk for droughts as well as intraseasonal dry spells. The majority of the population depends on agriculture as the primary source of livelihood, and the sector is dominated by smallholder agriculture. These small farmers rely on traditional technologies and produce primarily for consumption. Famine vulnerability is high in Ethiopia. With the rapid population growth of the past two decades, per capita food grain production has declined. Cereals constitute the largest share of food production in the country. Today, with recurrent famine threats, food aid is an important source of cereal supply. Additionally, agricultural market dysfunctions are common in Ethiopia. Throughout history, the state has controlled the markets. With the enactment of a major market reform in the 1990s, the country saw some progress. Markets remain thin, however, with wide price spreads and volatility. In 2002, despite good harvests in the previous years, Ethiopia was hit by another famine: Production was insufficient, and food did not flow from surplus to deficit areas. Apart from population pressure, the causes of this crisis include production, market, policy, institutional, and organizational failures. Each time a food crisis occurs, there is a complex interaction of supply, distribution, and demand factors. It is these processes at work on national and household levels that determine outcomes for food security, food availability, access, and use. Because the causes of famine are multifaceted, multiple actions are required to prevent its occurrence. On a broader level, two points must be emphasized. First, specific programs alone cannot effectively tackle famine. Micro-level interventions should be considered in tandem with macroeconomic policies. Second, market integration and price stabilization must be in place for individual projects to function effectively. The question of policy and program choice and sequencing arise in determining the optimal program mix for mitigating and preventing famine. But how is such a program mix determined under resource and time constraints? Your assignment is to recommend a set of shortand long-term policies and programs to improve food security in Ethiopia that will be compatible with available government resources and reductions of Ethiopia's dependence on foreign food aid.