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Impacts of Food Vouchers on Local Markets: Reflections from CRS’ experience in Niger

May 2012 — By Catholic Relief Services

In mid 2010, CRS-Niger designed and carried out a food voucher program to assist the most needy one-third of households in the departments of Ouallam and Tillabéri due to the poor harvest in 2009 (CRS, 2010). The ADVANCE project was implemented in collaboration with a local NGO partner Association pour le Bien-être Collective et l’Ecologie (ABC Ecologie) with support from USAID.

CRS commissioned a study on the impacts of food vouchers from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) on local markets in southwestern Niger. CRS/Niger and local partners implemented Project ADVANCE between August and October 2010. This report is based on a study titled “Impacts of Project ADVANCE on Local Markets” carried out by two consultants for CRS/Niger.

This paper consists in six questions:

  • Section I looks at voucher programs in the context of the changing character of food aid.
  • Sections II and III describe the livelihood systems of South West Niger and the staple food markets serving the area.
  • Section IV provides an overview of Project ADVANCE.
  • Section V summarizes the findings on impacts from the voucher distribution on the structure, demand and performance of local markets.
  • A final section summarizes the major lessons from the ADVANCE experience.