Food Aid Cash Vouchers Allow More Aid To Reach Recipients, But Programs Need Flexibility, Study Says

“Cash can be more effective than food aid when it comes to reaching hungry people,” according to a study by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the World Food Programme, but “the study authors find there is no right way to deliver aid, and say flexibility is key,” VOA News reports. Researchers examined “aid projects in four very different countries: Ecuador, Uganda, Niger, and Yemen,” finding “cash was cheaper to provide than food,” and “[i]f the projects used only cash or vouchers, an additional 32,000 people could have been fed, approximately 15 percent of the total,” according to the news service. “However, [John Hoddinott of IFPRI] stressed, ‘We want to be very clear: the results of our study do not say that you should always provide cash,'” VOA writes. The U.S. “Congress is considering legislation that would allow slightly more flexibility” in food aid policies to provide more assistance in the form of cash vouchers, the news service notes, adding, “The legislation is part of the much larger Farm Bill,” which House and Senate negotiators begin discussing this week (Baragona, 10/28).

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