Poverty is the lack of basics needs such as food, water, shelter, and healthcare. Food is one the most critical issues to end poverty. Many people think that food support (when not for emergency relief) is a big help to impoverished nations. However, the effect might be the opposite. By providing excessive food support or food dumping, rich countries are undercutting the core of third world countries’ economy.

In poor countries, agriculture is the biggest economic factor. “In developing countries, agriculture continues to be the main source of employment, livelihood and income for between 50-90% of the population,” and in Africa, almost 70% of people rely on farming as their main source of income.

If third world countries want to erase poverty, investing and stabilizing agriculture are extremely important. When other countries are providing excessive food support, they increase the food supply when food demand remains the same. This situation decreases the food price in the local market because local farmers have to compete with foreign food aid in the market. Since the price for food decreases, the farmers do not have the ability to reinvest the profit into their land and their crop.

In addition, many developed countries have moved away from agriculture to focus on their competitive advantages (technology and service sectors). Therefore, they are in need of food supply. Since most of the food supply comes from developing countries. If these countries do not have the capability to provide, the world can experience a food shortage.

The beneficial solution is to help the poverty farmers with farming education, not food dumping. The more they produce, the more money they will obtain, the more like likely they are to get out of poverty. In addition, poor farmers will have to use cheap and unsafe farming treatment to their plants and cause health issues globally. According to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the key factors for farming supports are (1) listening to their needs, (2) increase farm productivity, (3) fostering sustainable farming practice.

Phong Pham

Sources: Gates Foundation, Shaebia, T.R.A.D.E.
Photo: Stephen Raburn