Thursday, June 4, 2009

Fresh Challenges

We had a bit of a situation a few days ago where we found a number of beneficiaries had sold their food coupons to a couple of traders. The 200+ bags of rice was found and returned to WFP. What gets me is that a 50kg bag of rice (which is what we distribute to people who've returned home as a once off; those still displaced receive 25kg per month) apparently sells for 1000-odd pesos (AUD$26). I was told that people had sold their coupons for about 300 pesos.

I can understand that people might need other things more than rice at particular times, and even though WFP rice shouldn't be sold on, I can understand why it might happen. All hail the mighty free market. What I can't quite understand is why people would accept such a low price for it. Particularly when there were such a large number of families involved in this collusion with the traders...I suppose the theory of supply and demand hasn't quite reached the poorest of the poor here.

And as a result of the above mentioned incident, see the following report from Reuters:

Philippines asks aid agencies to limit food rations

MANILA, June 3 (Reuters) - The Philippines discouraged on Wednesday aid agencies from distributing large amounts of food to internally displaced families on a restive southern island to prevent rice supplies from being handed to rebels.

The government adopted stricter controls over management of food, medicines and other relief supplies after troops seized about 11 tonnes of rice on Sunday being spirited out from a camp for displaced people on the southern island of Mindanao.

There were concerns food distributed to thousands of displaced families across the oil and gas-rich marshlands of central Mindanao region were being diverted to Muslim rebels or sold to traders.

You can find the rest of the article here

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