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Food Aid and Agricultural Cargo Preference

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Food Aid and Agricultural Cargo Preference

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This paper uses an unprecedentedly rich data set to estimate the cost of agricultural cargo preference (ACP) restrictions on United States food aid programs, and to document some of the programs' competitiveness and national security impacts. ACP cost U.S. taxpayers $140 million in 2006, 46% more than competitive freight costs would have. This roughly equals the cost of non-emergency food aid to Africa. Furthermore, 70% of ACP vessels did not satisfy the criteria that deem them militarily useful, a large share were ultimately owned by foreign corporations, and no ACP vessel crew has been mobilized for national service.
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PolicyBrief
 November2010
FoodAidandAgriculturalCargoPreference
ByElizabethR.Bageant,ChristopherB.Barrett*,andErinC.Lentz
CornellUniversity
TheIssue
The past decade has brought considerable
reforms in food aid policies among most of the
world’s largest donors. However, the United
States, the world’s largest food aid donor, has
beentheslowesttoundertakemuch‐neededfood
aidreforms.Delaysarisenotonlyfromtheinertia
createdbythelargesizeandlonghistoryofUS
foodaidprograms,butalsoduetotheretention
ofspecificrequirementsthathavelongoutlived
their usefulness as policy tools and in fact work
against national economic interests. One
particularlydifficultstumblingblockhasbeenthe
little‐understood agricultural cargo preference
(ACP)requirementsleviedonUSfoodaid.
Cargo preference laws were originally designed
with multiple objectives: to provide essential
sealiftcapabilityinwartime,maintainskilledjobs
for American seafarers, and avoid foreign
dominationofUSoceancommerce.Ourfindings–
based on the most comprehensive and the only
peer‐reviewed analysis to date of available
shipping data and shipping vessel ownership
records–suggestthatdespitemorethan50years
under ACP laws this policy is not effective. It
contributes little to its stated national security
objectives and provides very expensive support
to only about 1,400 ACP vessel crew members
while it squanders scarce aid agency resources
intendedtoalleviateglobalhunger.Furthermore,
cargopreferencesupports foreign oceancarriers
whose parent companies indirectly own many
ACPvessels.
DirectsubsidiestotheUSshippingindustrycould
more effectively advance national security and
maritimegoalswhileliberatingUSfoodaid
programsfrom inefficienciesthat complicate the
humanitarian task of food delivery and add
substantialcostfortaxpayers.Moreefficientand
effective ways can be designed to fulfill the
multiple objectives of agricultural cargo
preferencepolicy.
HowACPandRelatedProgramsWork
Enactedin1954aspartoftheCargoPreference
Act,ACPrequiresthat75percentofUSfoodaid
commoditiesbeshippedonprivatelyowned,US‐
flagcommercialvesselsthathavebeenregistered
intheUnitedStatesforatleastthreeyearsand
employ a crew of at least 75% US citizens. The
two agencies responsible for delivering US food
aid, United States Agency for International
Development (USAID) and United States
Department of Agriculture (USDA), must comply
withACPregulations.Complianceismonitored
and enforced by the Department of
Transportation’s Maritime Administration
(MARAD).
Foodaidfreightcontractsareawardedaccording
toMARAD’sprioritysystem,withPriority1bids
involving shipments that that use only US‐flag
vessels, Priority 2 bids comprised of US‐flag to
foreign‐flag trans‐shipments, and Priority 3 bids
comprised of only foreign‐flag vessels. Bids
compete within a priority level; lower priority
bidsareonlyacceptedwhenhigherprioritybids
are unavailable. In effect, the priority system
limits ocean freight supply and drives up
shippingcosts.
MARAD compensates USAID and USDA for a
portionofthecostsofACPcompliance,usingtwo
distinct reimbursement mechanisms. The
primary one, calculated annually, compensates
theaidagenciesforone‐thirdoftheoceanfreight
differential (OFD), which amounts to the
differencebetweencompetingUSandforeignflag
2
bids on a given shipment. An additional
reimbursement mechanism, known as the
TwentyPercentExcessFreight(TPEF)provision,
compensates USAID and USDA for excessive
shippingcostsincurredduringperiodicspikesin
transport prices, when the cost of shipping
exceeds 20 percent of the value of the
commoditiesshipped.
Although these reimbursement mechanisms are
designed to lighten the financial burden of ACP
compliance borne by aid agencies, MARAD
reimbursement substantially under‐represents
thetruecostsofACP.Theshortfallarisesfor
multiple reasons. First, older, less efficient, not‐
militarily useful vessels are excluded from the
reimbursementcalculationseventhoughtheyare
ACPeligible. Second, thepriority ranking system
inherently discourages foreign flag vessels from
bidding on food aid shipments; but OFD cannot
becalculatedforshipmentsonwhichforeignflag
carriers have not bid, thus no reimbursement is
madeforsuchshipments.
More recent legislation aggravates the problems
posedbyACP.In1996,thefederalgovernment
passedtheMaritimeSecurityAct,aprovisionof
which,knownasMSA17,mandatesthat25
percentofbaggedfoodaidcargobe“handled” in
Great Lakes ports. MSA‐17 was designed to
mitigate the negative impact of ACP laws on the
Great Lakes port range, where smaller, foreign‐
flagvesselsdominatedthewaterways.Under
MSA‐17,upto25percentoffoodaidshipments
are exempt from the priority ranking system so
longastheyarehandledbyGreatLakesports.
Almost all of this 25 percent of food aid is
therefore shipped on more competitive foreign
flagvessels.MSA‐17hasensuredthatGreatLakes
port facilities continue to handle a fixed
percentage of US food aid, albeit via intermodal
(such as truck‐to‐rail) rather than purely
waterborne transportation. At the same time,
MSA‐17 obligates virtually all non‐Great Lakes
shipmentstobecarried on US‐flagvessels.Thus,
MSA‐17 has become possibly the single most
anti‐competitive influence on the US food aid
shipping market by creating substantial
disincentives for foreign flag vessels to bid on
non‐GreatLakesfoodaidshipments.
A more recent federal government program
directly addresses the same goals as ACP,
duplicatingeffortandexpense.MARADs
Maritime Security Program (MSP) was
established in 1996 to ensure the US military’s
accessto vessels, crewsand a global,intermodal
transportation network during wartime. MSP
subsidizes US‐flagged liner vessels that are less
than15yearsoldinreturnfortherighttocallup
thesevesselsandcrewsfornationalsecurityor
Department of Defense (DoD) shipping needs.
AlthoughvesselscanqualifyforACPeligibility
and the MSP program simultaneously, and
receive payments from both programs
simultaneously, ACP‐eligible vessels are
frequentlymorethan15yearsoldordonotoffer
liner service, which prevents them from being
classified by MARAD as military useful. MSP
provides a more direct method of subsidizing
militarilyusefulsealiftcapacitythandoolderACP
rules.
DataandAnalyticalApproach
InordertoevaluatethecostsofACPandits
effectiveness in meeting its legislated objectives,
we statistically analyzed every USAID food aid
shipmentinfiscalyear2006(1,741transactions),
themostrecentyearforwhichcomprehensive
data were available. A variety of robustness
checks suggest the data are reasonably
representativeof the programmore broadly and
may,infact,understatethecostsofACPto
taxpayers and food aidagencies.Wealso
gathered publicly available information on the
ownership structures and crew sizes of vessels
participatingintheACPprogram.Tocomputethe
total taxpayer cost and the distribution of these
costs across agencies, we used the pre‐existing
inter‐agency guidelines, as outlined in a 1987
Memorandum of Understanding between USAID,
USDAandMARAD.
KeyFindings
Our analysis of the costs and consequences of
ACPrevealsthatACPdoesnotappeartobethe
mostefficientor effectivemeansofachievingthe
policysstatedobjectives.Keyfindingsofthe
dataanalysisinclude:
(1) In FY2006, meeting ACP requirements for
USDAandUSAIDprogramscostUStaxpayers
roughly $140 million, a 46 percent markup
over competitive freight costs. This cost
roughlyequals thefull value ofUSAID’s Title
3
IInon‐emergencyfoodaidtoAfricathatyear.
Without ACP, the US government could
double non‐emergency food aid to Africa.
This would help advance both President
Bush’s2005pledgetodoubleUSaidtoAfrica
and President Obama’s Feed the Future
initiative.
(2) Contrarytothenationalsecurityobjectivesof
cargo preference laws, 70 percent of US‐flag
vesselseligibletocarryfoodaidin2006
failed to qualify as militarily useful under
MARAD criteria. Indeed, the priority system
usedtoawardbidsunderACPdirectly
disadvantages the most militarily useful US‐
flagvessels,thosethatareMSPeligible.
(3) ACP provides minimal supplementary
supporttomilitarilyusefulvessels.Lessthan
7%ofACPexpendituressupportvessels
selectedbyDoDforinclusionintheMaritime
Security Fleet. For those vessels in both
programs, MSP payments were almost ten
timesaslargeasACPsupportreceived.
(4) Morethan60%ofthetotalcostofACPisnot
reimbursedbyMARAD.Thefoodaid
agencies–USAIDandUSDA–payformostof
the ACP subsidies to ocean freight carriers.
Mostofthiscostarisesbecauseexistingrules
discourageforeign flagcarriers frombidding
onfoodaidshipments,whichdisqualifiesthe
shipmentfromoverseasfreightdifferential
reimbursementsfromMARAD.
(5) Alargeshareoftheremainingunreimbursed
ACPcostsarisebecausetheprogramincludes
vessels25yearsorolderthatarenolonger
deemedmilitarilyusefulandthatare48‐64%
moreexpensivethanyoungervessels.The
technical details of the governing inter‐
agency agreement do not permit
reimbursement for the full costs of these
oldervessels.
(6) BuyAmericanobjectivesarenotmet.US
flagvesselsarecommonlyheldwithin
complex structures of nested holding
companies,manyofthemprivatelyheld,such
that we conclusively pinned down the
ultimate ownership of less than half the
vesselsintheACPprogram.40%ofthefood
aid tonnage definitively linked to ultimate
owners was hauled on vessels whose
companies are ultimately owned by foreign
corporations.
(7) Therehasbeennodocumentedcallupof
citizen mariners for national security
purposesinthe56yearssincetheACP
program began, spanning seven major US
military operations. The cost of maintaining
thisuntappedpoolofroughly1,400mariners
on ACP vessels in FY2006 amounted to
approximately $99,300 per mariner. This
comesontopoftheMSPcoststomaintainthe
samepoolofvesselsandcrews.
Conclusions
Moreefficient andeffective ways couldbe found
to fulfill the multiple objectives of agricultural
cargo preference policy. Perhaps the most
effective means of achievingACPsnational
security objectives would be to augment the
MaritimeSecurityProgram.The$140millioncost
ofACP could beusedtosupportanadditional40
MSPvesselsattheFY2006MSPsubsidylevel.
Alternatively,eligibilityforACPcouldbe
restricted to only those vessels that are clearly
militarilyuseful,thuseliminatingthesubstantial,
costly support to older, more expensive vessels
that presently account for more than two‐thirds
oftheACPfleet.
Other reforms could increase competition and
efficiencyinshippingAmericanfoodaid.Relaxing
or eliminating MSA‐17 would allow for greater
price‐based competition among ocean carriers.
Additionally, the ACP program’s mandatory
three‐yearwaitingperiodpriortoentrycouldbe
eliminatedtoallowtheUS‐flagshippingindustry
USAID
OFDand
Freight
Costs
22.8 USAID
Missing
Alternate
BidCosts
26.8
USDA
Estimated
Costs
36.5
MARAD
OFDCost
19.5
MARAD
TPEF
Reimburse
ment
34.8
DistributionofFY2006ACP
CoststoFederalGovernment
($140.4million)
4
tomeetshorttermchangesindemandforUS‐flag
ocean freight services. Prioritization rules for
awardingbidsmight alsobeupdated to bemore
compatiblewithmoderncommercialpracticesin
liner services and to stop disadvantaging
militarily useful vessels. To better support
American ownership of ocean carriers, more
stringent guidelines regarding corporate
parentage of eligible carriers could increase the
benefitsaffordedtoAmerican carriers, American
merchant mariners and other ocean freight
industryemployees.
Eliminating costly ACP provisions could also
enable a doubling of non‐emergency food aid to
Africa to meet unfulfilled commitments the
federal government has made over the past five
years,ormodestreductionoffederalbudget
deficits.
The peer‐reviewed analysis summarized in this
brief offers the clearest, most comprehensive
evidencetodateonthecostsandeffectivenessof
agricultural cargo preference restrictions in
advancingtheirstatedgoals.PresentACPpolicy
promotesineffectiveshippingsubsidiesunder
the guise of humanitarian assistance, national
securityand“buyAmericanobjectives.Butit
largelyfailstoadvancetheseimportantgoals.It
istimetorevisittheroleofACPasitappliesto
internationalfoodassistanceinordertoenhance
welfareandsecuritybothinAmericaandabroad.
FurtherReading
Bageant,ElizabethB.,ChristopherB.Barrett,and
Erin C. Lentz. In press.“Food Aid and
Agricultural Cargo Preference”Applied
EconomicPerspectivesandPolicy.
Bloom,M.2008.“TheCargoPreferenceActof
1954 and Related Legislation.” Journalof
MaritimeLaw&Commerce39(3):289‐313.
Maritime Administration, U.S. Department of
Transportation. No date. TheMaritime
AdministrationandCargoPreference.
Maritime Administration, U.S. Department of
Transportation.2006a.“ForeignFlagCrewing
Practices:AReviewofCrewingPracticesin
U.S.–ForeignOceanCargoShipping
accessedat
http://www.marad.dot.gov/documents/Cre
wing_Report_Internet_Version_in_Word‐upda
te‐Jan_final.pdf.
MemorandumofUnderstandingbetween
CommodityCreditCorporationandMaritime
AdministrationDepartmentofTransportation
andAgencyforInternational
Development.1987.
United States Agency for International
Development. 2007. ADSChapter314:
EligibilityofDeliveryServices, accessed at
http://www.usaid.gov/policy/ads/300/314.
pdf.
United States Agency for International
Development. December 2006. International
FoodAssistanceReport.
United States Government Accountability Office.
2004. MaritimeSecurityFleet:ManyFactors
DetermineImpactofPotentialLimitsonFood
AidShipments.ReportGAO‐04‐1065.
Abouttheauthors:ElizabethR. Bageantrecently completed her B.A. in DevelopmentSociology atCornell
UniversityandnowworksinGhana.ChristopherB.BarrettistheStephenB.&JaniceG.AshleyProfessorof
AppliedEconomicsandManagementandInternationalProfessorofAgriculture,CharlesH.DysonSchoolof
AppliedEconomicsand Management,CornellUniversity. Erin C.Lentzis a ResearchSupportSpecialist at
CornellUniversity.
*ChrisBarrettisthecorrespondingauthoratcbb2@cornell.edu,315WarrenHall,CharlesH.DysonSchool
ofAppliedEconomicsandManagement,CornellUniversity,Ithaca,NY14853‐7801.Telephone:(607)257‐
7434.
... Furthermore, while U.S. International Food-aid Programs do provide help for people in desperate need in very poor countries, their structure generates considerable waste and substantially reduces the impact of the total U.S. food-aid budget. The U.S. food-aid programs are also designed to provide considerable benefits to the U.S. shipping industry, U.S. producers of certain agricultural commodities, and non-government organizations (NGOs) who are focused on maintaining their own infrastructures while alleviating food insecurity (Bageant, Barrett, & Lentz, 2010;Lentz & Barrett, 2015;Mercier & Smith, 2015). ...
... Since the 1980s, the management of U.S. emergency food-aid programs by USDA and USAID has been hamstrung by three congressionally mandated requirements that prevent them from using those funds in ways that minimize the costs and maximize the benefits of those programs. The first requirement is that more than 90% of all food aid be sourced in the United States (U.S. sourcing) rather than local/regional sourcing as used by other developed countries such as Canada and France (Bageant et al., 2010;Barrett & Maxwell, 2005). It is estimated that the U.S. sourcing requirement delays the delivery of emergency food aid by approximately 2 months, with severe mortality and morbidity consequences (Lentz & Barrett, 2015).The second requirement, cargo preference for food aid (CPFA), requires that at least 50% of all food aid be shipped on U.S.-flagged vessels. ...
... Taken together, these two mandates for U.S. sourcing of food-aid and cargo preference have substantially increased the annual budgetary costs of delivering food aid to the populations that need them. The costs savings associated with ending those two mandates have been estimated at US$300 to US$350 million (Bageant et al., 2010;Barrett & Maxwell, 2005), approximately 25% of the annual U.S. emergency food-aid budget of about US$1.4 billion, a budget that has been relatively stable over the past decade (Mercier & Smith, 2015). ...
Chapter
Full-text available
In the United States, successive farm bills and the 2007 Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) have largely defined domestic subsidy and conservation programs and U.S. food-aid initiatives over the past decade. This chapter examines the effects of the current mixture of U.S. agricultural policies and international food-aid programs on domestic and global foodinsecure populations. A detailed research-based examination is carried out with respect to the impacts of U.S. subsidy programs on agricultural production, domestic and global agricultural commodity prices, and their implications for food-insecure populations. The impacts of the RFS are assessed along with the effects of current and potentially reformed U.S. international food-aid programs. This study concludes that current U.S. agricultural subsidy programs have small or negligible impacts on the aggregate level and mixture of U.S. agricultural output, U.S. domestic prices and global prices, and domestic and global food insecurity among poor households. The RFS has increased prices for food and feed grain and oilseeds with adverse implications for the urban poor in developing countries and some poor U.S. households. The portfolios of U.S. food-aid programs are managed inefficiently because of congressional mandates designed to aid special interest groups that waste 30% of the current budget. While U.S. subsidy programs likely should be moderated for other reasons, they have few impacts on domestic and globally food-insecure households. However, in relation to global and domestic food insecurity, the RFS should be discontinued and major reforms to U.S. international food aid implemented.
... In addition to the constraint on transoceanic food shipments, the Cargo Preference Act (P.L. 83-644) requires that 50% of U.S. food aid volume be delivered on U.S.-flag vessels, which increases shipping costs [13] and food insecurity [14]. A reduction from 75% to 50% occurred as a result of the 2012 Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act; in addition, Section 318 of the original version of the 2014 Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2014, H.R. 4005, had a provision to revert back to 75% that passed the U.S. House of Representatives on a voice vote, but was not included in the final bill [10]. ...
... for cash-based interventions and let c s $0.567/kg plus the shipping cost for transoceanic shipments. Compliance with the agricultural cargo preference in 2006 (which was then set at 75% US-flag carriers) was estimated to increase shipment costs by 46% [13], implying that U.S.-flag carriers were 61.3% more costly than competitive shipping (i.e., 0.75(1.613) +0.25 = 1.46). ...
... In our context, the most important property of the forecasting method is its accuracy. We measure accuracy by the root mean square error (RMSE) and compare the observed forecast accuracy for different forecast lead times with the forecast accuracy predicted by our model (Eq (13) in S1 File). The close fit of the true RMSE, the model RMSE and the RMSE of the model estimated without regularization (Fig F in S1 File) suggests that our model describes the accuracy of the forecasting method well, and regularization has only a small impact on forecast accuracy. ...
Article
Full-text available
The U.S. is the main country in the world that delivers its food assistance primarily via transoceanic shipments of commodity-based in-kind food. This approach is costlier and less timely than cash-based assistance, which includes cash transfers, food vouchers, and local and regional procurement, where food is bought in or nearby the recipient country. The U.S.’s approach is exacerbated by a requirement that half of its transoceanic food shipments need to be sent on U.S.-flag vessels. We estimate the effect of these U.S. food assistance distribution policies on child mortality in northern Kenya by formulating and optimizing a supply chain model. In our model, monthly orders of transoceanic shipments and cash-based interventions are chosen to minimize child mortality subject to an annual budget constraint and to policy constraints on the allowable proportions of cash-based interventions and non-US-flag shipments. By varying the restrictiveness of these policy constraints, we assess the impact of possible changes in U.S. food aid policies on child mortality. The model includes an existing regression model that uses household survey data and geospatial data to forecast the mean mid-upper-arm circumference Z scores among children in a community, and allows food assistance to increase Z scores, and Z scores to influence mortality rates. We find that cash-based interventions are a much more powerful policy lever than the U.S.-flag vessel requirement: switching to cash-based interventions reduces child mortality from 4.4% to 3.7% (a 16.2% relative reduction) in our model, whereas eliminating the U.S.-flag vessel restriction without increasing the use of cash-based interventions generates a relative reduction in child mortality of only 1.1%. The great majority of the gains achieved by cash-based interventions are due to their reduced cost, not their reduced delivery lead times; i.e., the reduction of shipping expenses allows for more food to be delivered, which reduces child mortality.
... The problem regarding food aid is that essentially one instrument, namely cargo preference is being used in trying to achieve at least two explicit targets (to provide food to populations in need, and to maintain a mercantile marine for use at times of national emergency) and one less explicit target (that the maritime sector is protection from international competition in the carriage of trade). This is a point also made clear by Bageant et al (2010) viz.; 'The most salient problem with the current formulation of the agricultural cargo preference program is the difficulty inherent in pursuing multiple policy objectives through a single policy instrument'. ...
... This academic study by Bageant et al (2010) focuses explicitly on the costs of the jobs created as a result of the agricultural cargo preference policy using an extensive database for 2006. Its wide ranging conclusions are that meeting cargo preference requirements costs taxpayers roughly $140 million, representing a premium of 46 per cent over tapping the competitive freight market, and that, counter to cargo preference requirements, 70 per cent of US flag-vessels eligible to carry food aid failed to qualify as militarily useful under MARAD criteria. ...
Article
Full-text available
The way in which US agricultural cargo preference that regulates the international transportation of US Government-generated goods may affect food aid provision is of concern. This article considers specifically the efficiency of the current arrangements whereby 50 per cent of food aid has to be moved by US registered ships, and the potential implications of changing this. This is done within a much broader critique of the ways in which such policies tend to be evaluated. The findings are that, when opportunity costs are netted out, there are likely to be fewer quantifiable benefits to the US economy of the cargo preference structure than are often posited. In particular, many of the estimates of the economic gains to the United States found in prior studies often involve those of vested interests and are frequently gross calculations based on not only a weak underlying methodology, but also a distorted use of that methodology.
... From this analysis, there appears to be a sense of inevitability that hazards will become disasters. As such, persistent themes in the EFA literature since the 1990s include but are not limited to: health and nutritional impacts of EFA (Deribew and Alemseged 2009;Hall et al. 2011;Hansch 1992;Yamano et al. 2005;Nichols et al. 2013); targeting practices (Buckley 1988;Clay et al. 1999;Merten and Haller 2009); donor allocation (Bageant et al. 2010;Kuhlgatz and Abdulai 2012;Young and Abbott 2008); effectiveness of different modalities (e.g., food, cash, and vouchers) (Fenn et al. 2015;Harvey et al. 2010); and, potential agricultural disincentives effects and dependency (Abdulai et al. 2005;Fitzpatrick and Storey 1989;Harvey and Lind 2005;Tadesse and Shively 2009;Zakari and Ying 2013). ...
Thesis
Full-text available
Disasters are the result of a vulnerable socioecological system interacting with a hazard. Causal – or the root causes of – vulnerability relates to historical and contemporary social, economic, political, cultural, and biophysical processes and factors, and human and institutional actors that increase the susceptibility of socioecological systems. Indigenous cultures throughout Papua New Guinea survived and flourished over millennia despite recurrent exposure to hazards such as El Niño-caused droughts and frosts, earthquakes, and flooding, which indicates high resilience. However, over the last century these same hazards are leading to reports of widespread hunger and the distribution of emergency food aid. The distribution of emergency food aid feeds into an existing narrative that Indigenous cultures’ food systems are, and have always been, vulnerable to disasters. However, the survival of these cultures over thousands of years suggests otherwise. It is therefore critical to explore whether the causal disaster vulnerability of Indigenous food systems is increasing over time and what processes and factors are, or are not, driving this vulnerability. In addition to identifying the wider historical and contemporary drivers of disaster vulnerability, this thesis aims to explore how emergency food aid influences the causal disaster vulnerability of Indigenous food systems. This is achieved through a case study of the extremely remote Bedamuni of Western Province, Papua New Guinea. Fieldwork took place over three months in mid-2018 within 25 Bedamuni villages. I used a variety of established (e.g., ethnographic observation and notetaking, interviews) and novel (e.g., 31 ‘longhouse stories’ lasting 1-3h) qualitative data gathering methods with the assistance of local research assistants. Despite limited interaction with colonial government patrols in the 1940s and 1950s, first sustained contact with the Australian Territory of Papua and New Guinea occurred in 1962. As such, many elders who were young men and women at first contact contributed to this research. Emergency food aid was first distributed after the 1997 El Niño and has been distributed after two major events since then. This case study provides an opportunity to empirically explore the influences of colonisation, missionisation, capitalism, and emergency food aid on the causal disaster vulnerability of the Bedamuni food system. The thesis first develops and justifies the core concepts utilised throughout. This includes conceptualising food systems as a form of socioecological system, developing a framework to understand the causal disaster vulnerability of Indigenous food systems, and demonstrating how emergency food aid can be considered as a potential driver of vulnerability. Drivers, including but beyond emergency food aid, are taken to be any exogenous or endogenous processes which intentionally or unintentionally durably alter food system activities and outcomes. Before turning to the Bedamuni case study, the multidisciplinary literature is reviewed to identify the changing contours of vulnerability in remote Papua New Guinea food systems from pre-history through to the modern day. The drivers associated with, for example, prehistorical migrations and agricultural development, colonial ‘law and order’, Christianity, and capitalism are shown to be instrumental to understanding the contemporary disaster vulnerability of remote food systems. Drawing from the fieldwork explored in detail in Chapter 3, the thesis investigates changes to the Bedamuni food system from first Western contact to mid-2018. From this analysis I show there have been significant changes to population, land use and settlement patterns, agricultural practices, and political economy (e.g., social relations, power, property). Colonial contact and the establishment of an Evangelical mission in 1968 are found to be the major initial drivers of changes that continue to influence current sustainability and food security concerns. The thesis couples the socioecological conceptualisation of food systems with disaster vulnerability expressed as a function of exposure (temporal and spatial), susceptibility (as historical, socio-human, psychological, economic, environmental, physical, cultural, and governance dimensions), livelihood resilience (as knowledge, power and participation, capabilities, assets, and social capital), and absorptive, adaptive, and transformational capacities. By implementing this framework, it is demonstrated that the main drivers of vulnerability relate to historical, social, economic, environmental, and psychological dimensions of susceptibility and declining adaptive capacity. Taken together with high exposure to El Niño droughts (e.g., 1971/2, 1982/3, 1997, 2015/16) and earthquakes (e.g., 1954, 2018), disaster vulnerability is concerningly high and participants suggest is increasing. Therefore, some entry points to reduce vulnerability and increase resilience in Indigenous food systems are outlined. The development and empirical testing of a nomothetic framework was a major outcome of this thesis. Emergency food aid, while a lesser driver compared to, for example, colonisation and capitalist political economy, has nonetheless affected several key determinants of vulnerability. These include exacerbating already declining self-efficacy traced to colonial and missionary led narratives of helplessness and a transition away from Indigenous knowledge and practice. Additionally, through encouraging increasingly unsustainable food system practices, emergency food aid was also found to undermine the motivation for urgently needed incremental and transformational changes to address escalating disaster vulnerability. The identified socioecological consequences of emergency food aid lead me to argue for a renewed critique of its distribution in remote Indigenous contexts. Overall, the exploration of the causes and consequences of change in the Bedamuni food system showed that much contemporary vulnerability can be traced back to colonial and missionary contact. The framework developed and implemented to understand the causal disaster vulnerability of Indigenous food systems proved highly effective at looking beyond outcomes and identifying root causes of vulnerability, which are multi-scalar historical, social, economic, political, cultural, and biophysical processes and factors. The overarching finding was that emergency food aid, which is now universally expected among the Bedamuni, was found to be influencing and exacerbating the causal disaster vulnerability of the food system through further undermining their collective capacities and by encouraging a socioecological trajectory that is proving increasingly unsustainable.
... From this analysis, there appears to be a sense of inevitability that hazards will become disasters. As such, persistent themes in the EFA literature since the 1990s include but are not limited to: health and nutritional impacts of EFA (Bauer and Mburu 2017;Deribew and Alemseged 2009;Hall et al. 2011;Hansch 1992;Yamano et al. 2005;Nichols et al. 2013); targeting practices (Buckley 1988;Clay et al. 1999;Merten and Haller 2009); donor allocation (Bageant et al. 2010;Kuhlgatz and Abdulai 2012;Young and Abbott 2008); effectiveness of different modalities (e.g., food, cash, and vouchers) (Fenn et al. 2015;Harvey et al. 2010); and, potential agricultural disincentives effects and dependency (Abdulai et al. 2005;Fitzpatrick and Storey 1989;Harvey and Lind 2005;Tadesse and Shively 2009;Zakari and Ying 2013). ...
Article
Full-text available
Emergency food aid is the dominant humanitarian response to food insecurity precipitated by disasters. There is a significant literature on food aid effectiveness (e.g., bolstering food security, targeting, modality selection) in various disaster contexts. Additionally, there are some studies on the potential disincentive effects on agricultural production among other unintended consequences. However, there has been no explicit research on the possible effects of emergency food aid on the causal disaster vulnerability of Indigenous food systems. This research, based within the remote Bedamuni tribe of Western Province, Papua New Guinea, addresses this gap. The Bedamuni first received emergency food aid in response to the 1997 El Niño drought, followed by the 2015/16 El Niño and February 2018 Highlands earthquake. We identify first sustained contact (1962), the subsequent establishment of a mission (1968), and the societal changes that followed as more pronounced drivers of vulnerability. However, emergency food aid exacerbates several key determinants of vulnerability such as declining self-efficacy and adaptive capacity, in addition to encouraging unsustainable food system practices. This paper argues for a more holistic understanding of causal vulnerability in food systems and renewed critique regarding the use of emergency food aid in rural Indigenous contexts.
... aWe estimate transportation costs on non-US flagships. Should the food aid products be shipped on US flagships (current cargo preference laws requires 75% of shipments occur on US flagships), transportation costs may increase by an average of 46% (Bageant et al30 ). All quotes are based on a 20 foot standard container with 17 metric tons of fortified blended food. ...
Article
Background Sorghum-Soy Blend (SSB) and Sorghum-Cowpea Blend (SCB) fortified blended food aid porridge products were developed as alternatives to Corn-Soy Blend Plus (CSB+) and Super Cereal Plus (SC+), the most widely used fortified blended food aid products. However, the cost and nutrient cost-effectiveness of these products procured from different geographical areas have not been determined. Objective The objective of this study is to determine the nutrient cost-effectiveness of SSB and SCB compared to existing fortified blended foods. Methods Nutritional data as well as ingredient, processing, and transportation cost for SSB, SCB, and existing fortified blended foods were compiled. Using the omega value, the ratio of the fortified blended food’s Nutrient Value Score to the total cost of the fortified blended food divided by an identical ratio of a different fortified blended food or the same fortified blended food produced in a different country and the nutrient cost-effectiveness of each of the fortified blended foods procured in the United States and several African countries were determined. Results Both CSB+ and SC+ are less expensive than SSB and SCB, but they also have lower Nutrient Value Scores of 7.7 and 8.6, respectively. However, the omega values of CSB+ and SC+ are all above 1 when compared to SSB and SCB, suggesting that the existing fortified blended foods are more nutrient cost-effective. Conclusions Comparing the nutrient cost-effectiveness of various food aid products could provide valuable information to food aid agencies prior to making procurement decisions.
... Nos Estados Unidos, esses interesses têm sido denominados de " triângulo de ferro " : agronegócio, companhias de A ajuda proporciona rendas aos interesses das empresas de frete. Nos Estados Unidos, no ano fiscal de 2006, a preferência para cargas agrícolas (ACP, na sigla em inglês) " um dos requisitos para os programas do USDA e USAID, custou aos contribuintes norte-americanos cerca de US$ 140 milhões, uma margem de lucro adicional de 46% sobre os custos de frete competitivos " (Bageant et al., 2010, p. 2). No entanto, essa preferência obrigatória para os navios mercantes americanos, sobre a qual poderia se esperar que a tributação dos Estados Unidos recuperasse pelo menos parte das receitas, é frustrada por jurisdições secretas globais. ...
Article
Full-text available
Um paradoxo domina a vasta literatura sobre a ajuda externa: apesar de um consenso acadêmico de que os interesses dos doadores são os principais condutores do sistema de ajuda, o número de pesquisas sobre tais interesses não parece compatível com a importância fundamental desse fato. Este artigo revisa resultados das pesquisas sobre os montantes de ajuda externa e como os interesses econômicos dos países doadores são alcançados e protegidos. Parte-se de uma contextualização dos fluxos e contra-fluxos de ajuda externa e de sua geopolítica, desde o nascimento do sistema moderno de ajuda externa no início da Guerra Fria. Em seguida, passa-se a estudos que correlacionam ajuda externa e suas prescrições políticas com objetivos dos países doadores, nomeadamente em comércio e investimento. Discutem-se metas e resultados mercantis favoráveis aos doadores, tais como fluxos líquidos gerados por cartéis, bancos de desenvolvimento e outros mecanismos que conformam o sistema de ajuda. Finalmente, discutem-se as descobertas sobre interesses próprios de doadores em campos como serviços de consultoria, ajuda alimentar, marinha mercante, direitos de propriedade intelectual, ensino superior e pesquisas agrícola e médica. Como visão geral e provisória, reconhecidamente incompleta, o artigo sinaliza questões que merecem um trabalho mais profundo em termos acadêmicos e até mesmo como uma pesquisa pública. Palavras-chave: doadores internacionais; relações Norte-Sul; cooperação para o desenvolvimento; comércio internacional. DONORS HELPING THEMSELVES A major paradox towers over the vast literature on foreign aid: despite a scholarly consensus that donor interests are primary drivers of the aid system, research about those interests does not begin to match their fundamental importance. This article reviews research findings about upstream realms of foreign aid and how donor country economic interests are pursued and protected. It begins by placing aid flows against a backdrop of counter-flows, and some of their geo-politics, since the birth of the modern foreign aid system at the outset of the Cold War. It then turns to studies that correlate aid and its policy prescriptions with donor country aims, notably in trade and investment. It discusses mercantilist aims and outcomes, including net flows to donor interests as generated by cartels, development banks and other mechanisms enjoying the aid system's support. Finally it reviews findings about donor self-interest pursued in such fields as consulting services, food aid and merchant shipping, intellectual property rights, higher education and agricultural and medical research. As a provisional and admittedly incomplete overview, it signposts issues meriting deeper scholarly work and even public investigation. [Full text also available at: http://www.ipea.gov.br/portal/images/stories/PDFs/rtm/170104_rtm_vol3_n1_art01.pdf ]
... Cargo preference laws must also be considered with commodities that are shipped in bags (e.g. preference for certain carriers) [14]. FFP cannot request that bagged commodities be transported via containers or break bulk, but can request that some commodities to certain ports be transported in containers as a theft prevention measure. ...
Article
Full-text available
This paper documents the motivation and methodology developed to evaluate the cost effectiveness and potential improvements for the transportation and storage of food aid commodities. Additionally, preliminary fieldwork conducted to map out the domestic portions of the supply chain is also presented. We hypothesize that modern bag technologies, such as hermetic bags, offer the potential to cost effectively improve the quality of food aid commodities as a substitute to current fumigation processes. A range of packaging (current and new), shipping modes, commodities, and foreign ports will be evaluated in the traditional supply chain with the use of a factorial design. Furthermore, the down-stream supply chain portions such as storage will be simulated by placement in prepositioning warehouses in foreign ports for up to three months. The use of a factorial design with sliding levels is a crucial method utilized to accommodate the various factors involved in the complex supply chain of food aid. Domestic fieldwork has provided valuable insights into the viability of implementing modern bagging technologies in the existing supply chain.
Article
Most donor countries historically linked international food assistance programs to their domestic agricultural support policies through tying policies that required donated food to be purchased in donor‐country markets. Tying policies have been shown to reduce the efficiency and effectiveness of food assistance along a number of dimensions, including cost, timeliness, and cultural appropriateness. We investigate how the Canadian policy to untie food assistance affected Canadian shipments. We use an operation‐level dataset from the World Food Programme to investigate how procurement sources and commodity compositions changed after untying, and we build an empirical model of Canadian food assistance shipments that is used to compare observed shipments to counterfactually‐tied shipments. This comparison reveals positive effects of the untying policy at the extensive margin (number of recipient countries) and no significant effects at the intensive margin (quantity of food) when estimated over our entire sample. We observe positive effects of untying at the intensive margin (quantity of food) when comparing shipments during the untied regime to shipments in years directly preceding the policy change. Our results show that Canada delivered more emergency food assistance, more frequently, after untying. The results of the Canadian experience inform ongoing debates about untying food assistance in the United States and untying other forms of foreign aid.
Technical Report
Full-text available
This report summarizes the case for reforming three specific provisions that constrain the effectiveness of U.S. international food aid programs.
Article
By the Cargo Preference Act of 1954, Congress reserved for carriage in US-flagged bulk carriers, liners, and tank vessels 50 to 75 per cent of the cargo generated by federal agencies for the account of the U.S. Government or for the benefit of foreign nations. By the Merchant Marine Act of 1970, Congress directed the Department of Transportation to manage the resulting enterprise. Major changes came in the Food Security Act of 1985. This article, a primer on the contemporary legal system of cargo preference in the United States, dissects the current congeries of legislation, regulation and court decision, describes current operations, and fixes a snapshot of the state of the law.
Article
Summary This paper develops an integrated model of the food aid distribution chain, from donor appropriations through operational agency programming decisions to household consumption choices. We use this model to simulate alternative policies and to perform sensitivity analysis to establish how varying underlying conditions--for example, delivery costs, the political additionality of food, targeting efficacy--affect optimal food aid policy for improving the well-being of food insecure households. We find that improved targeting by operational agencies is crucial to advancing food security objectives. At the donor level, the key policy variable under most model parameterizations is ocean freight costs associated with cargo preference restrictions on the US food aid.
Memorandum of Understanding between Commodity Credit Corporation and Maritime Administration Department of Transportation and Agency for International Development.1987. United States Agency for International Development
Maritime Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation. 2006a. "Foreign Flag Crewing Practices: A Review of Crewing Practices in U.S. -Foreign Ocean Cargo Shipping" accessed at http://www.marad.dot.gov/documents/Cre wing_Report_Internet_Version_in_Word-upda te-Jan_final.pdf. Memorandum of Understanding between Commodity Credit Corporation and Maritime Administration Department of Transportation and Agency for International Development.1987. United States Agency for International Development. 2007. ADS Chapter 314: Eligibility of Delivery Services, accessed at http://www.usaid.gov/policy/ads/300/314. pdf. United States Agency for International Development. December 2006. International Food Assistance Report.