USAID-BEST's latest report describes the state of agricultural markets for staple foods prior to the escalation of the Ebola outbreak and response. USAID-BEST conducted research during the months of June-August 2014, including a field visit in July, to inform anticipated USAID development food assistance programming. The report presents an overview of local food markets and supplementary technical annexes on key macroeconomic, agricultural, and food security indicators for Liberia. The food security situation presented in this analysis may no longer accurately reflect the current environment given the public health crisis. Nonetheless, the role of markets in food security and the basic characteristics of consumption, production, and marketing of staple foods prior to the 2014 Ebola outbreak remain relevant.
View a Photobook of food crop production in Liberia FLASH
The Bangladesh USAID-BEST Analysis examines the state of agricultural markets in Bangladesh as of April 2014 to inform future food security programming. This study presents an overview of local markets, recommendations for upcoming program design, and local food initiatives to improve nutrition. The Analysis also examines food aid monetization and the logistics surrounding the movement and storage of food. While Bangladesh has tripled production of rice, its main dietary staple, since the 1970s, poverty continues to hinder food access. The USAID-BEST team recommends that Title II continue food assistance programming to improve household food security and income security and consider including locally available staple foods, locally produced nutritious products, and cash/vouchers in the rations. Additionally, Title II partners should continue the current practice of monetizing wheat grain to the Government of Bangladesh.
View a Photobook from the trip FLASH
View a field guide to staple foods in Bangladesh FLASH | PDF
The Nepal USAID-BEST Analysis examines the state of agricultural markets in Nepal as of July 2013 to inform future food security programming. This study presents an overview of local markets, recommendations for upcoming program design, and an assessment of the logistics surrounding the movement and storage of food. In general, food supply appears adequate for imported and locally produced commodities, although marketed supply tends to flow within specific regions of the country. Informal trade and unequal trade relations with India significantly affect staple food markets. Rice remains the most highly preferred cereal, which makes this food inappropriate for inclusion in most Title II rations. Instead, USAID-BEST recommends transoceanic wheat grain and pulses (garbanzo beans or yellow split peas) in food-for-asset projects and fortified blended foods and vegetable oil for the maternal and child health and nutrition component of a future program.
View a Photobook from the trip FLASH
Food aid can affect local economies of developing countries. The USAID-BEST project analyzes local markets to assess the impact of a potential food aid program on a country's local economy. USAID-BEST recommendations include practical steps donors and private voluntary organizations can take to ensure food security program design supports local markets to reach critical food security goals. The USAID-BEST project presents these findings and recommendations in a Congressionally mandated report often referred to as a Bellmon analysis. USAID-BEST analyses have resulted in smart, objective, evidence-based food aid programming decisions.
USAID-BEST also provides technical seminars on food aid in the context of local markets. USAID-BEST seminars have informed and increased the in-house technical capacity of US government agencies overseeing food security programs.
The project is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Office of Food for Peace (FFP).
The US government's global hunger and food security initiative, Feed the Future, invests in inclusive agriculture-led growth and targeted nutrition approaches to address the root causes of hunger and poverty. USAID-BEST is not a Feed the Future-funded project, though our analyses of local production and marketing of staple foods contribute to Feed the Future goals by supplying critical information to food security decision makers. USAID-BEST studies provide recommendations to ensure food aid does not harm local agricultural markets, and that food aid programs are appropriately designed regarding commodity selection and rations in terms of targeted households.