In the same year it stopped receiving global food aid, China emerged as the world’s third largest food donor. According to a report by the World Food Programme (WFP) released late last month, China donated 577,000 tons of food in 2005, mainly to neighbor North Korea, placing it only behind the United States and the European Union on the list of global food donors.
“With 1.3 billion mouths to feed and a land mass largely unsuited to agriculture (only around 14 per cent of the territory comprises arable land), China’s achievements in vanquishing hunger are all the more impressive,” says Pallavi Aiyar in The Hindu’s online edition…
Another success story is India’s transformation as a recipient of food aid in 2000 to becoming the 15th largest donor to WFP last year. (WFP delivered 54 percent of the world’s total food aid that year.)
“In the last three years,” United News of India reported, “India has made donations through WFP worth about $52 million to assist children in Afghanistan and Iraq to return to schools benefitting nearly 2 million children.” The distribution of India’s biscuits at educational facilities have persuaded families to allow their daughters to enroll in schools across Afghanistan.
So, the lesson is that once we help countries to become developed, they can help still more countries…
The Big Picture for Food Aid
Global food aid overall grew by 10 percent to 8.2 million metric tons in 2005. China accounted for more than half of the rise in overall food aid donations in 2005, with a 260 percent increase compared to the previous year. Canada increased its donations by 42 percent, to 275,000 tons. Other relatively new donors, such as the Czech Republic, Greece, Poland, doubled or even tripled their support from 2004 to 2005.
Donations from non-governmental organizations, such as the American Red Cross, increased by 64 percent.
The U.S. Still Most Generous Donor
The United States remained the world’s most generous food aid donor, providing 4 million tons, or 49 percent of all donations. Overall donations from the European Union totalled 1.5 million tons, with the European Commission, Austria, Denmark, Netherlands and Sweden significantly increasing their support.
“Donations of food made the difference between life and death after the tsunami, the Pakistan earthquake and in Sudan, so we are extraordinarily grateful to all who gave last year,” said James T. Morris, Executive Director of WFP.
Which Countries Receive the Food
For the first time on record, more than half of all food aid was sent to sub-Saharan Africa, which received 4.6 million tons of food aid. Ethiopia again topped the list of countries receiving food aid, with 1.1 million tons of food aid, or 13 percent of all food aid delivered in 2005. Other major recipients in Africa included Sudan, Uganda, Eritrea and Kenya.
Food aid to Asia increased by 14 percent, and the Democratic Republic of Korea received the second-highest amount of food aid worldwide, with 1.1 million tons – most of it bilateral aid donated from China and the Republic of Korea. Bangladesh, Indonesia and Sri Lanka were also among the principal recipients.
Food aid destined for Latin America and the Caribbean increased 8 percent against 2004, while deliveries to the Middle East and North Africa dropped 53 percent and to Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States fell by 30 percent.
“Sadly, there still is not enough food aid to feed everyone who needs it. The number of hungry is rising by more than 4 million people a year in the developing world, even though poverty is declining. We need a food first policy,” added Morris.
You can help by donating to the United Nations World Food Programme (which receives no dues or UN contributions).