Friday, 13 September 2013

Relief and Development In Zambia

Zambia's government is planning to begin distributing maize (food aid) to households in the Gwembe District in the South of the country later this week. They're also distributing fertilizer. Because the aim is for people to have enough to eat through the hungry season and also be able to grow their own food, hopefully with a more successful harvest next time around. Because this is how it should work: feeding farming families cannot be either investing in farming inputs or providing food for the hunger; it has to be both. Plus the FRA is buying maize from farmers in the region, which may just succeed in stabilizing markets and ensuring fair prices.

To be fair, some of this may well be government spin - there have been some concerning indications coming out of Zambia regarding transparency in the last little while - but even if it is, it suggests that the government is determined to convince people that this is what they are doing. Which suggests that the government believes (and believes that the population believes) that the combination of interventions - food aid, input subsidies plus market stabilization and food safety net - is required. The combination. Preventing hunger means prevention, mitigation, relief and development, often all at the same time. Great to see a country investing in, or at least prioritizing, such an integrated solution.

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