In large-scale emergencies, food aid is often one of the biggest and longest-running responses. Oxfam is concerned about the standardisation of such food-aid responses and its appropriateness in the current post-tsunami context. Where food is available, and markets functioning, cash is an appropriate alternative to food aid.
Oxfam is publishing this briefing note because it is concerned about challenging the bias towards food aid in the current design of relief responses, and to raise awareness and expertise among relief workers on cash-transfer programmes and local food purchase. Especially in the current crisis, where a high level of funding has been secured, cash transfers would represent a far more cost-effective and efficient response to the terrible situation in which millions of people are struggling to survive and recover their livelihoods.