Harvest Help insists aid work has value

Development charity Harvest Help has defended the value of long-term development work following last month's critical DEC report.

The independent evaluation of last year's Southern Africa appeal asserted that long-term aid made no difference to communities' ability to cope with the food crisis of 2002/3.

But Harvest Help says an independent study of its programme of supplying seeds to southern African farmers in 2002 shows that long-term development initiatives do make a difference.

The report said: "Harvest Help projects do help to make households more resilient and better able to recover from shocks like drought and disease."

Acting director Kevin Lawrence said: "This report contains clear evidence for the benefits of long-term development. On average, non-beneficiaries in our project areas were twice as reliant on food aid as their neighbours.

"That is not to say that the food crisis did not place strain on all southern African farmers or that there are not lessons to be learned."

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