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Aid or abyss? Food assistance programs (FAPs), food security and livelihoods in Humla, Nepal

Yograj Gautam () and Peter Andersen ()
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Yograj Gautam: University of Bergen
Peter Andersen: University of Bergen

Food Security: The Science, Sociology and Economics of Food Production and Access to Food, 2017, vol. 9, issue 2, 227-238

Abstract: Abstract Over two thirds of the world’s poorest and most food-insecure people live in developing countries. Since Food Assistance Programs (FAPs) are the most commonly applied food security interventions in these countries, their effective management remains a shared concern in development policies. In addition to addressing short-term relief needs, FAPs have also been funding integrated rural development projects. This paper assesses how FAPs are operationalized in terms of food aid distribution among people in different social and economic strata in Nepal. In addition, it also explores micro-level institutional, technical and geographical factors that influence the implementation of FAPs based community projects in order to analyze their potential efficiency in stimulating local development. Results suggest that FAPs do bring certain benefits, for instance helping to reduce household food deficits as well as acting as a safety net for poorer households, by reducing their reliance on debt as a means of securing food. However, they also suggest that the provision of food by FAPs is not equitable in view of intra-community socio-economic variations and food security needs. Households belonging to the high caste and thus enjoying better food security conditions were found to exploit their political and social networks in order to acquire a disproportionately higher amount of food assistance. Furthermore, the community projects also failed to attract effective local participation which, in turn, led them to becoming incompatible with the needs, priorities and capacities of local communities. From the perspective of ‘targeting’, we conclude that the continuation of FAPs in their existing modalities mostly maintain the status quo, and can even have the effect of exacerbating local inequalities.

Keywords: Food aid; Food security; Participation; Karnali; Nepal (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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Handle: RePEc:spr:ssefpa:v:9:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s12571-017-0655-5