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UN: $6 billion funding for global food crisis

The top United Nations relief official said today that $6 billion in new funding to tackle the global food crisis has been pledged following the food security summit that concluded last week in Rome.

“We need to focus both on the immediate needs and on the longer-term issues starting right now and the focus is on the smallholder farmers in developing countries,” Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, John Holmes announced. “These are the people who need most help and where there is the most potential for increasing agricultural productivity and production.”

Consensus
The new “Comprehensive Framework for Action” was reached by consensus among the members of the international task force, which brings together the heads of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Trade Organization (WTO) and key UN agencies.

The plan focuses on a series of measures to meet immediate needs and also to build longer-term resilience to food crises in the future. Among the immediate measures proposed in the plan are increasing nutritional and other feeding programmes, as well as supplying fertilizers, seeds, animal feed and veterinary services to help smallholder farmers in the current planting season.

Reduction
The plan also calls for a reduction in export bans on food commodities, and focuses on the need for much greater investment in agricultural production in the longer term. Noting that there was broad agreement on the way forward, Mr. Holmes said the World Bank estimated that global food production had to rise by at least 50 per cent by 2030 to meet worldwide demand.

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