but in an emergency it's often wheat flour, cooking oil, pulses, sometimes high energy biscuits, often special nutritional products designed to fend off malnutrition.
Josette Shearan, head of WFP - China was previously one of the greatest recipients of food aid but today gives rather than receives assistance
Josette Sheeran says it's often not lack of food that's the issue, but the lack of access to it.
Josette Shearan - how do we move from food aid to food assistance?
Josette Shearan: There are many situations where there is food - but people cannot afford - what response is suitable here?
Josette Sheeran - we are deploying different approaches to food assistance around the world. In situations where ther eis food but people can't afford it, we can give them vouchers that they can redeem in shops. this supports local markets and shops
Josette Sheeran, continuing her opening remarks, in haiti we are using food assistance to support reconstruction projects - this is a more sophisticated use of food, which among other things is respectful to human dignity.
Josette Sheeran: we now have the burden of knowledge where nutrition is concerned. We know that if a child does not get the right nutrients in early years, their physical and mental development can be compromised for ever.
Did you know WFP purchases 80% of its food in the developing world? - stat from Josette Shearan
Simon Maxwell "let me stress that the changes the WFP has recently made are very far-reaching and sigfnicant"
Simon Maxwell - if all you have is food aid, you look only for problems that food aid can solve.
Simon Maxwell - major alignment between WFP and DFID on nutrition and the range of tools needed to fight hunger.
Simon Maxwell says that WFP is no longer just about giving food to people - it's about fighting hunger which means it's now operationally focused on tackling the causes of hunger
Sijbesma - 1 bilion ppl close to starvation, on top of that another 1 billion facing malnutrition
Sijbesma - Starving ppl cannot be a business model, you help them or you don't and as a company we have a responsibility to do this and can give this to agencies like WFP as long as they don't resell our products that will put us out of business
Sijbesma - Business has more roles to play than just make money
Feike Sijbesma of DSM: "Hidden hunger is a silent killer"
@james it's expensive to make and it's soft (can melt in hot places).
Renton to Sijbesma - you are in the business of making fat people thin and vice versa
Alex Renton, former Oxfam advocacy and media coordinator at Oxfam and now a freelance journalist - also welcomes the changes within the WFP's approach
Alex Renton - but these reforms should have come decades ago
Alex Renton - the FAO has done a very poor job on tackling the causes of hunger - 1 billion people still hungry
Alex Renton - I was in Malawi in May 2008, which was about to have its 2nd great harvest in a year but prices were collapsing - just around the corner was a school which has a partnership with WFP and USAID to feed hungry children - those children were going to be fed with maize and soya grown in America
Alex Renton - this is a classic example of bad food aid delivered with utterly the wrong motive - too often it's used as a tool by powerful governments like the US
Alex Renton - this is the back-story to the reforms of the WFP
Alex Renton - the WFP and FAO were used by the US govt for foreign policy objectives for 4 decades
Alex Renton - all this attention going into feeding has seen a enormous decline in the investment in agriculure
Renton - The problem with food aid makes countries dependant and addicted
"This is one of the lesser known global crimes of the twentieth century" - Alex Renton
Renton - Changes that have come to how aid agencies deal with food aid are necessary but have come very late..but need to be nurtured
Josette Sheeran, respoding to Alex Renton, says it is ineed time to focus on the poor farmer in developing world.
Alex Renton's final point: Why is WFP not looking at core problems of food supply in Haiti? The dumping of rice on the Haitian economy, for example, has been a disaster for the country. This is something WFP needs to stand up to if it's to really be an advocate for the poor and hungry
Josette Sheeran: FAO is focused on production end of agriculture, WFP's sole focus is on the hungry individual.
Sheeran - on tranformation of food aid - fact is billion people on earth hungry but without a ready solution...