Open Access Enhancing processes for introduction, production, quality assurance, and delivery of US Title II food aid products

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Background: Enacted in 1950, Public Law 480 (PL480) dramatically increased the volume of U.S. food aid and the scope of interventions it supports. Billions of dollars have been invested, both to enhance the diets of chronically undernourished people in development settings, and to support nutritional needs during conflicts and natural disasters.

Objective: Review the institutional processes—from procurement to delivery—that support this programming.

Methods: We examined the systems that govern and oversee the many components of food aid programming and the extent to which they support a whole-of-government, multi-agency food aid agenda. We conducted consultations with US government employees and contractors, academics, industry representatives, donor agency staff, United Nations personnel, and field-level food aid programming technical staff from many countries. A survey of USAID implementing partners conducted among 64 responding offices in 40 countries provided data on the use and effectiveness of enriched, fortified, or blended Title II commodities, the use of new commodities, and related procurement or logistics aspects. Expert panels provided input and feedback throughout the process.

Results: We identified potential improvements to overall delivery and cost-effectiveness of USAID programming to better meet the nutrition needs of beneficiaries. Options include changes in product formulation, the range of products provided, and/or the modes of product approval, processing, procurement, and distribution. This research points to several improvements in processes related to food aid: 1) Establish an interagency committee to oversee all government interests in the food aid agenda through an ongoing review process. 2) Enhance processes and quality assurance along the product value chain including the importance of effective interaction with the private sector to incorporate industry best practices and create public–private partnerships to promote product innovations. 3) Strengthen the evidence base for innovations in products, programming approaches, and institutional processes.

Conclusion: Successful programming requires knowledge and understanding of the unit cost of impact, not simply tonnage and “numbers of hungry people fed”. Empirical rigor is essential; any significant program changes, including those recommended here, should be tested and monitored.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2011

More about this publication?
  • Established in 1978, the Food and Nutrition Bulletin (FNB) is a peer-reviewed journal published quarterly by the Nevin Scrimshaw International Nutrition Foundation.

    The focus of the journal is to highlight original scientific articles on nutrition research, policy analyses, and state-of-the-art summaries relating to multidisciplinary efforts to alleviate the problems of hunger and malnutrition in the developing world.

    Food and Nutrition Bulletin's 2012 Impact Factor: 2.106
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