"You might say it [US rice sent as food aid to Haiti] is a perfect metaphor for what is wrong with aid to Haiti. Instead of bringing subsidized rice in on ships from Miami, we could be helping Haiti grow rice in it`s own fields."
American journalist Donovan Webster has recently penned a series of articles on Haiti for www.globalpost.com , one of which, containing the above quote, has also been reproduced at www.salon.com (Haiti ; Where Did the Money Go ?, 11 Jan 2012), and subsequently recycled by various bloggers.
Some in the UK may be surprised to know that the quote actually came from a representative of Oxfam America.
Whether Oxfam is in any position to comment on the effective use of resources is debateable, given it`s own chequered history. In fairness though, in the early to mid-`80s, Oxfam UK was a key player in an almost-forgotten initiative, The Campaign for Real Aid, and published Tony Jackson and Deborah Eade`s Against The Grain, a book that asked some very hard questions about the value of food aid.
Those were different times and some would say that was a different Oxfam. Are they about to reclaim lost territory ? We wait and see.