young corn in Ghana

young corn in Ghana

From  Food aid, a gigantic waste of money?, come the following figures:

It costs about $77 in fertilizers and hybrid seed for a smallholder African farmer to produce an extra ton of maize, based on our research at the Millennium Villages. To bring in the same ton of maize into Africa as U.S. food aid costs $670, based on a Government Accountability Office report. Both numbers are as of April 2007 … Since it may now cost an African smallholder farmer about $150 in inputs to produce an extra ton of maize, and she can sell it locally for $250 to $300, the farmer will generate income and begin the economic transformation from sub-subsistence into commercial entrepreneurs.

Based on this information, it seems fairly clear what the most effective way to finance food aid is.  Subsidize seeds and fertilizer for the people who are growing the food locally.  And make sure the seeds produce crops with seeds that can be harvested and regrown without paying tolls or tribute to some distant agribusiness imperial power.