Paul M. Porter, Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN and Hussein Haji, Somali Agricultural Technical Group (SATG), Mogadishu, Somalia
What is the response of agronomist consultants who are visiting a remote African village and are told the food-aid maize the children in the village receive as part of a school-lunch program is causing the children to become ill when they consume the maize? This poster describes the process the agronomists went through to help get answers as to why the children were getting sick. The 2011-2012 famine in parts of southern Somalia resulted in a large number of newly internally displaced people (IDPs) and a huge influx of food aid coming into the country. The famine subsided, but the number of IDPs and the amount of food aid coming into Mogadishu, the capital city of Somalia, has not. A substantial amount of the food aid makes it into the local markets, depressing the demand for the white maize produced by local farmers. Yellow-colored maize, provided as food aid, is commonly sold for animal feed to support an emergent milk and poultry industry on the outskirts of Mogadishu. Food aid to Somalia has become feed aid. The value farmers in the United States receive for their maize crop is greater than the value of the food-aid maize sold in the markets in Mogadishu. Implications of this convoluted situation are as complex as the situation itself.