Averting a food crisis: private imports and public targeted distribution in Bangladesh after the 1998 flood

Working Paper
FMRSP Working Paper No. 18

A major food crisis was averted, however, as private imports, made possible by trade liberalization in the early 1990s, stabilized market prices and supplies. Government direct distribution programs, though small compared to private imports, nonetheless increased access to food by poor households. Household survey data indicate that immediate relief efforts were well targeted to flood-affected households, as were transfers from NGO’s. Vulnerable Group Feeding, a medium-term program, was not targeted well to households directly exposed to the flood, though the program was relatively well targeted to poor households.  

More broadly, the Bangladesh experience with the 1998 flood shows that in a liberalized trade regime where private imports respond to price signals, food aid’s contribution to total availability of food may be minimal. Yet, foreign assistance in-kind or as cash, can provide resources for subsidized, targeted distribution to food-insecure households -- assistance not otherwise possible under tight government budget constraints.



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Date and language
Jan 2001
Personal Author
Agris Subject Categories: 
Food distribution
Agris Subject Categories: 
Trade, marketing and distribution
Agris Subject Categories: 
International trade
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