The Water Footprint of Food Aid | Land Portal

Resource information

Date of publication: 
January 2015
Resource Language: 
ISBN / Resource ID: 
LP-midp000903
Copyright details: 
© 2015 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article

Food aid is a critical component of the global food system, particularly when emergency situations arise. For the first time, we evaluate the water footprint of food aid. To do this, we draw on food aid data from theWorld Food Programme and virtual water content estimates from WaterStat. We find that the total water footprint of food aid was 10 km3 in 2005, which represents approximately 0.5% of the water footprint of food trade and 2.0% of the water footprint of land grabbing (i.e., water appropriation associated with large agricultural land deals). The United States is by far the largest food aid donor and contributes 82% of the water footprint of food aid. The countries that receive the most water embodied in aid are Ethiopia, Sudan, North Korea, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. Notably, we find that there is significant overlap between countries that receive food aid and those that have their land grabbed. Multivariate regression results indicate that donor water footprints are driven by political and environmental variables, whereas recipient water footprints are driven by land grabbing and food indicators.

Authors and Publishers

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

Jackson, NicoleKonar, MeganHoekstra, Arjen Y.

Corporate Author(s): 
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    MDPI AG, a publisher of open-access scientific journals, was spun off from the Molecular Diversity Preservation International organization. It was formally registered by Shu-Kun Lin and Dietrich Rordorf in May 2010 in Basel, Switzerland, and maintains editorial offices in China, Spain and Serbia. MDPI relies primarily on article processing charges to cover the costs of editorial quality control and production of articles. Over 280 universities and institutes have joined the MDPI Institutional Open Access Program; authors from these organizations pay reduced article processing charges.

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