Impact of food aid on smallholder agriculture development in Swaziland
Food aid is a widely debated development topic and such debates have given rise to the existence of two schools of thought regarding its resultant effects. The general belief is that food aid has disincentive effects, whereas the counter belief is that food aid instead comes with contributional effects to agricultural development. For the past five production seasons, cereal food aid deliveries have featured prominently in the coverage of Swaziland's maize gap following Government's appeal to the international community to assist with the impact of drought on the country's food production. This study examined whether food aid has affected agricultural production of smallholder farmers in Swaziland who ironically constitute a larger proportion of food aid beneficiaries in the occurrence of drought. The study was based on empirical evidence from a representation of 240 smallholder farming households identified from the Lowveld Cattle & Cotton and the Highveld Maize & Cattle Food Economy Zones. Data were collected using multiple stage and random sampling techniques and analysed using Chi-square, logistic regression and multiple regression. Key findings of the study reflected that there is no significant dependence between food aid and agricultural production at household level. Agricultural production is not affected by receiving food aid per se, however, the mode of distribution to beneficiaries (free food aid) remains a cause for concern as it is likely to influence production decisions of beneficiaries. Further analysis revealed that the identification criteria are inconsistent within the study area, reflecting the necessity to improve on targeting. The issue of targeting needs to be further investigated as it could give a broader picture with regards to errors of inclusion and exclusion. Such a study would be suitable to examine the efficiency of food aid in the country. It is recommended that the Government of Swaziland considers the formulation of a food security policy that will address food security issues in a wholistic manner rather than to rely on a food aid programme that is meant for short term interventions when infact the effects of drought appear to be perpetual in the country.
Keywords: Food Aid, Agricultural Production, impact
AJFAND Vol. 8 (2) 2008 pp. 151-169
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