Food Conservation Should Receive Greater Attention in AID Agricultural Assistance Policies and Programs

ID-82-29: Published: Jun 3, 1982. Publicly Released: Jun 3, 1982.

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Inefficient agricultural systems cost developing countries billions of dollars annually in lost food. Previously, GAO has recommended that the Agency for International Development (AID) give more attention to the storage, distribution, and marketing systems in these countries. GAO conducted this review to determine what actions AID has taken and should take to reduce food loss. GAO examined agricultural policies and guidelines, reviewed the projects in Senegal and the Philippines, and considered the results of one project in Panama.

GAO found that food conservation is an area that requires AID to work closely with the host countries in dealing with problems which limit performance of current projects. AID should also provide incentives to reduce food losses and initiate stronger programs through its missions. By adopting policies which foster consideration of post-harvest storage, handling, processing, and marketing in conjunction with production projects, and by providing guidance to the overseas missions for developing specific projects, AID could more successfully realize the potential for increasing food availability through food conservation as well as production.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Administrator, AID, should develop a post-harvest research strategy, including priorities and planned activities and an appropriate emphasis on identification and use, or adaptation, of existing technologies.

    Agency Affected: United States Agency for International Development

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Administrator, AID, as an integral part of the agricultural assistance program, should: (1) change the Agency's agricultural assistance policy to recognize food production and food conservation as complementing rather than competing functions and articulate production policy in such a way as not to inhibit consideration of food conservation measures; (2) require the missions to address post-harvest problems in their development strategies or, if more appropriate, in their agricultural sector assessments; and (3) develop guidelines for the overseas missions to design loss-reduction projects and set goals which can be verified.

    Agency Affected: United States Agency for International Development

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Administrator, AID, in conjunction with the Philippine Government, should develop and implement a plan for the efficient use of the food processing center at Central Luzon State University.

    Agency Affected: United States Agency for International Development

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Administrator, AID, should, in conjunction with the Senegal Government and other donors, as appropriate, assess Senegal's long-term storage requirements at government and farm levels. This assessment should consider: (1) the feasibility of improving Senegal's capability to manage its existing storage facilities, including those financed by AID, and effective management may involve making them available to the private sector; (2) the need for and practicality of additional national-level facilities such as are now in process and being considered; and (3) the practicality of the Food and Agriculture Organization's food security proposal and its modification as appropriate.

    Agency Affected: United States Agency for International Development

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Administrator, AID, within the university cooperative agreements, should: (1) clearly establish the focus of AID-financed research, (2) provide for an annual research plan for AID approval, (3) establish the amount of research that may be done, (4) require that research activities be clearly identified, and (5) confirm that ongoing research is in harmony with the desired AID policy focus.

    Agency Affected: United States Agency for International Development

 

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