Friday, June 11, 2010

Economist's Notebook: Unintended Consequences

NPR has a nice story on the unintended consequences of flooding Haiti with free rice:

L'Artibonite, a Haitian town two hours north of Port-au-Prince, wasn't damaged in this year's earthquake. But the foreign aid that flowed into Haiti after the quake has been a blow to the area.

Most of the people in l'Artibonite earn their living by growing and selling rice, Haiti's staple food. But the influx of foreign food aid has meant that many Haitians can now get rice for free. As a result, the price of rice in Haiti has plummeted.

Mirana Honorable, a rice farmer, has to choose between selling enough rice to pay for her children to go to school, and having enough rice for her family to eat.

Good to have a little economics training - would teach you to expect this and plan in anticipation. Buying local rice at regular market prices would be a good start.


GeoGeek said...

This has been a criticism of food aid for a very long time.

I trust you've seen this flowchart?“stuff-we-don’t-want”-flow-chart/

Anonymous said...

After a storm comes a calm...................................................