Food Aid Information System

Glossary and abbreviations


A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z


Actual Ton
Actual weight of commodities in Metric Tons.
Actual Ton



Banca Dati di composizione degli Alimenti per studi epidemiologici in Italia (Database of Food Composition for Epidemiological Studies in Italy)
Bilateral food aid
Aid supplied on a government-to-government basis. It is often related to programme food aid.



Multilateral, intergovernmental or non-governmental organization acting as intermediary between a primary source government or organization and a recipient government or implementing agency within the recipient country.
Commonwealth of Independent States
Type of food being imported or purchased locally. Commodities are listed with high degree of detail, distinguishing when possible for specific variety, the packaging (canned/not canned) and the kind of conservation (dried, liophylized, fresh).



Delivery mode
The mode through which food aid commodities are delivered to the recipient country: Local Purchases, Triangular Purchases or Direct Transfers.
Direct transfers
Transactions by which food aid is directly delivered  from donor to recipient countries. Such operations do not involve either local or triangular purchases.
The primary source which provides food aid in the form of in-kind commodities or funds. They are mainly governments, private sector donors and NGOs.
Democratic People's Republic of Korea
Democratic Republic of the Congo



European Community
Emergency food aid
Food aid provided to victims of natural or man-made disasters on a short- term basis. It is freely distributed to targeted beneficiary groups and is usually provided on a grant basis. It is channelled multilaterally, through NGOs or, sometimes, bilaterally.
Energy is needed for the essential body functions (such as breathing), growth (especially during childhood) and physical activities (working and playing). The sources of energy for individuals are foods. Their energetic content is measured in  kilocalories (Kcals).



Food and Agriculture Organization
Fat is a macronutrient. This term encompasses all fats and oils that are edible and found in human diets. Fats in the body are divided into two groups: storage fat, which provides a reserve of fuel for the body, and structural fat, which is part of the essential structure of cells.
Folate equivalent
Unit of measurement to account for the differences in absorption of naturally occurring dietary folate and the more bioavailable synthetic folic acid (1 μg of food folate = 0.6 μg folic acid from supplements and fortified foods).
Food aid
Food aid commodities provided by international donors on concessional terms.
Food aid categories
Classification of food aid deliveries used to indicate the food transaction type: Emergency, Programme or Project.
Food aid deliveries
Deliveries of food aid refer to quantities of commodities that actually reached the recipient country during a given period.
Food composition table
Table containing information on the nutritional content of commodities delivered. Data refer to 100 grams of food, for its content in energy and in the following nutrients : protein, fat, iodine, iron, niacin, riboflavine, thiamine, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin B9, vitamin B12, vitamin C  and Zinc.



Grain Equivalent
Grain Equivalent
Unit of measurement used as alternative to Actual Ton for cereal-derived products. To convert a product into grain equivalent a commodity specific conversion factor is used.  For example if the factor to convert wheat flour into wheat is 1.37, a ton of wheat flour corresponds to 0.730 tons of wheat (1/1.37).




Implementing agency
Multilateral, intergovernmental or non-governmental agency that takes responsibility for the receipt and/or distribution of the food aid on behalf of the donor, channel and/or recipient country.

Istituto Nazionale di Ricerca per gli Alimenti e la Nutrizione  (National Research Institute for Food and Nutrition)
International Food Aid Information System
Iodine is a micronutrient. It is an essential constituent of hormones produced by the thyroid gland in the neck. In the foetus, iodine is necessary for the development of the brain and nervous system during the first three months of gestation.
Individual Requirement Met on Average. The number of individual requirements of a given nutrient potentially met by the nutritional content of a representative ton of the selected deliveries.
Individual Requirement Met on Average (Score). For the selected deliveries, average of 13 IRMA values (one for each nutrient) as a percentage of the IRMA value for energy. Maximum values (100%) are imposed so that outliers do not influence the average. It takes a value in the interval [0-100].
Individual Requirement Met on Average (for Total deliveries). Number of individual requirements  of a given nutrient potentially met by the nutritional content of the total amount of the deliveries selected.
Iron is a micronutrient. Most of the iron in the body is present in red blood cells. The main function of iron is the transfer of  oxygen to various sites in the body. Lack of iron eventually results in anaemia.




Kilocalorie (kcal)
According to the International System of Units, energy is measured in joules (J), but Kilocalories are still the most often used unit of measurement of dietary energy.  The conversion factor is: 1 kcal = 4.184 kJ.



Local purchases
Transactions by which food aid is purchased and distributed/utilised in the recipient country.



Macronutrients consist of carbohydrate, protein and fat. These nutrients form the bulk of the diet and supply all the energy needed by the body.
Metric Ton
Unit of measurement of food aid quantities: one Metric Ton is equivalent to 1,000 kg.
Micronutrients include all vitamins and minerals. Required in only tiny amounts, they are nonetheless essential for life and needed for a wide range of body functions and processes. Vitamins are either water-soluble (e.g., those found in fruits and vegetables, such as the B complex vitamins and vitamin C) and generally not stored by the body for future needs, or fat-soluble (e.g., vitamins A and D), which can be stored by the body.
Metric Ton
Multilateral food aid
Aid supplied  by the government of one country to a multilateral international organization.



Non-Governmental Organization
Niacin is a micronutrient, is water-soluble and plays a central role in the utilization of food energy.
Nutrients are the main components of food.  Foods are made up of five nutrients: protein, fats, carbohydrate, vitamins and minerals.
Nutritional Requirement
The amount of energy, protein, fat and micronutrients needed for an average individual to sustain a healthy and active life.  The average comes from weighting nutritional need of different age classes and sex groups within developing countries based on the demographic distribution of the typical population of a developing country.(See also Overview.) These average requirements differ from the actual amount of energy, protein, fat and micronutrients needed for an individual to sustain a healthy life. It varies across individuals and over time because of age, diseases, activity levels and other environmental factors.




Potential Average Requirement met
Programme food aid
Food aid provided on a government-to-government basis. It is not targeted at specific beneficiary groups. It is sold on the open market and can be provided either as a grant or as a loan.
Project food aid
Food aid provided to support various type of projects such as agricultural, nutritional and development. It is usually freely distributed to targeted beneficiary groups. However it can also be sold on the open market. Project food aid is provided on a grant basis and is channelled bilaterally, multilaterally or through NGOs. .
Protein is a macronutrient. Proteins are made up of "building blocks" called amino acids, composed of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen (amino group). Proteins are required to build new tissue, particularly during the rapid growth period of infancy and early childhood, during pregnancy and nursing and after infections or injuries. Excess protein is burned for energy.



Quantity delivered
Quantity of food aid that reaches the recipient country during a given period. Quantities may be selected/reported in Actual Quantity or Grain Equivalent.



Recommended Daily Allowance
The country that receives the food aid delivered.
Retinol equivalent
Unit of measurement to determine the value of vitamin A in sources of vitamin A. Retinol equivalent is 3.3 International Units of vitamin A. 1 retinol equivalent = 6 μg β-carotene or μg retinol.
Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
Riboflavin is a micronutrient, belonging to the vitamin B group. It is water-soluble and is a component of enzymes, which play a role in the utilization of food energy.




Thiamine (Vitamin B1)
Thiamine is a micronutrient, belonging to the vitamin B group. It is water-soluble and is required mainly for the metabolism of carbohydrate, fat and alcohol. It is also necessary for the proper function of the nervous system and the heart.
Triangular purchases
Transactions by which a donor provides commodities purchased in a third country as food aid to a final recipient country.



United Nations
United States of America
United States Department of Agriculture



Vitamin A
Vitamine A is a micronutrient. It is a fat-soluble vitamin required for the normal functioning of the eyes, the immune system,  growth and development, maintenance of healthy skin and reproduction.
Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is the largest of the B complex vitamins. It is water soluble and serves for  the normal functioning of the nervous system, and for the formation of blood, DNA synthesis and the metabolism of cells.
Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 is a micronutrient. It serves as co-enzyme in metabolism of amino acids, glycogen and sphingoid bases.
Vitamin B9 (folic acid)
Vitamin B9 is a micronutrient. It is required for the synthesis of nucleic acids. It has a role before conception and during early pregnancy in the prevention of foetal neural tube defect.
Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a micronutrient, is water-soluble and serves a number of essential metabolic functions. It also assists in absorption of non-haem iron and is an important anti-oxidant.



World Food Programme





Zinc is a micronutrient. It is an essential component of a large number of enzymes participating in the synthesis and degradation of carbohydrates, lipids, proteins and nuclein acids, as well as in the metabolism of other micronutrients.