Zimbabwean Farmers are Breaking the Cycle of Aid

A piece recently published in Newsday—a Zimbabwean newspaper—poignantly expresses what we’ve been discussing a lot lately, particularly with regard to sustainable agriculture in Haiti: that food aid alone does not alleviate poverty.

Though Zimbabwe has been plagued with food insecurity for quite some time, this year most farmers in northern Zimbabwe produced a bumper harvest of maize, while those in the southern region succumbed to a dry spell. The Famine Early Warning System Network (Fewsnet)’s prognosis of Zimbabwean farmers’ 2010 harvest shows an increase in food production compared to 2009. That’s good news! Thankfully, the country is mostly out of an emergency phase and farmers hope to break the cycle of aid moving forward. As the article explains, this year’s bumper harvest has done a lot of good:

“The bumper harvest presents an opportunity to introduce ways that promote human dignity and economic development tapping from resources in the aid industry … Human beings are not engines that run on the same type of fuel and giving food aid in a situation where food is locally available is denying people the dignity of dietary choice and missing an economic growth opportunity. There is no doubt that food aid saves lives but doesn’t alleviate poverty or contribute to the economy. In fact it can be corrosive to the economy as it creates dependency. The money goes mainly towards consumption.”

So true! Check out the article to learn more.