Curse or Cure? The relationship between food aid and food security in Sub-Saharan Africa: the cases of Mozambique and Kenya

Ehlers, Landi (2019-12)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2019.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Hunger is one of the greatest problems facing the global population. The reality is a situation of desperation, tragically in the midst of global, aggregate surplus. Global food production is increasing at a higher rate than global population growth, yet the number of people suffering from chronic hunger is rising. This seemingly contradictory fact is a consequence of severe food insecurity. Donors provide food aid to food insecure states as an ostensible act of humanitarianism. However, critics argue that food aid donations hold ulterior motives, which are favourable to donors, but condemn food insecure recipients to their desperate circumstances. This debate, calling into question the motivations and effectiveness of food aid, remains unsettled in the literature as well as in practice. The world can no longer risk the implementation of possibly ineffective or detrimental measures in response to food insecurity. This study investigates the purported relationship between food aid and food security. It considers the different arguments within this debate and ultimately determines how valid these arguments are in a Sub-Saharan African context, specifically in the cases of Kenya and Mozambique. The Human Security approach, the Capabilities Approach, as well as Theories of Dependency are deployed as analytical tools according to which a framework of analysis is constructed and applied to both case studies. Along with insight gained from interviewed experts, this study is able to conclude that the relationship between food aid and food security in sub-Saharan Africa, specifically the cases of Kenya and Mozambique, is not directly relational. Positive arguments in the debate regarding food aid and food security are not valid in the cases of Kenya and Mozambique, while the negative arguments of dependency and underdevelopment are much more likely to be realised. Both countries receive predominantly emergency food aid, the alternative to which may often be destitution. It is thus neither helpful nor realistic to suggest that food aid provision should be halted due to its negative consequences. This study concludes that although the provision of emergency food aid seems a necessary evil, it should no longer be considered a method of sustainably increasing recipients’ food security. The findings of this study may assist in the development of more effective practices regarding food aid and food security. By addressing the root causes of food insecurity, and enabling food aid dependant countries to recognise their weaknesses, positive and sustainable development may be promoted, which may in turn improve food security and lower the necessity of, and dependency on, food aid.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hongersnood is wêreldwyd een van die grootste bedreigings vir die mensdom. Voedselproduksie vermeerder teen ʼn hoër tempo as die populasie en tog neem die hoeveelheid mense wat aan hongersnood ly toe. Hierdie teenstrydigheid kan toegeskryf word aan die gevolge van ʼn gebrek aan voedselsekuriteit. Skenkers bied voedselhulp aan lande waar hongersnood ʼn bedreiging is. Hiérdie skenkings word beskou as welwillendheidsdade met die doel om voedselsekuriteit te bevorder. Kritici voer aan dat voedselhulp-skenkings nie uit welwillendheid spruit nie, maar op grond van versteekte motiewe uitgevoer word. Ondersteuners van hierdie argument hou vol dat skenkers die hoof begunstigdes van voedselhulp-skenkings is en dat skenkings die ontvangers daarvan weerhou om hulle ongunstige omstandighede te oorkom. Die debat aangaande die effektiwiteit van voedselhulp duur voort. In die hedendaagse politieke- en sosiale klimaat kan die implementering van oneffektiewe gebruike as reaksie op desperate omstandighede nie toegelaat word nie. Hierdie studie stel ondersoek in na die beweerde verhouding tussen voedselhulp en voedselsekuriteit. Dit ondersoek die verskeie argumente binne die debat en bepaal uiteindelik hoe geldig dit is in ‘n Afrika-konteks, Suid van die Sahara met spesifieke fokus op die gevallestudies van Kenia en Mosambiek. Die studie implementeer die Menslike sekuriteits-benadering, die Vermoëns-benadering, asook die Teorië van Afhanklikheid as analitiese instrumente en skep daarvolgens ʼn raamwerk wat op beide gevallestudies van toepassing is. Tesame met inligting verkry deur onderhoude gevoer met kenners, stel die studie vas dat die beweerde verhouding tussen voedselhulp en voedselsekuriteit, spesifiek in die gevalle van Kenia en Mosambiek, nie direk met mekaar verband hou nie. Argumente ten gunste van voedselhulp is ongeldig bevind in beide gevallestudies. Daar is ʼn hoë waarskynlikheid dat negatiewe gevolge van dié gebruik, soos voorgehou in argumente deur kritici, verwesenlik sal word of reeds geldig is. In beide gevallestudies word voedselhulp hoofsaaklik in tye van uiterste nood voorsien, wanneer die tekort daaraan waarskynlik tot die dood sal lei. Om voedselhulp te staak slegs in ʼn poging om die negatiewe gevolge te vermy sal nie voordelig wees nie. Die studie bevind wel dat voedselhulp nie beskou moet word as ʼn volhoubare manier om voedselsekuriteit te bevorder nie. Die studie dra potensieel by tot die ontwikkeling van meer effektiewe praktyke van voedselhulp-skenkings en die bevordering van voedselsekuriteit. Deur die kern oorsake van ʼn tekort aan voedselsekuriteit te identifiseer, en deur lande met hierdie tekort in staat te stel om dit aan te spreek, word positiewe en volhoubare ontwikkeling moontlik gemaak. Hierdie ontwikkeling sal voedselsekuriteit bevorder, en die noodsaaklikheid en afhanklikheid van voedselhulp verminder.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/107033
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