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Minister Smith announces €6.2million for hunger in Africa and the ''Forgotten Emergencies"

Mr. Brendan Smith TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture and Food with special responsibility for Food, today announced €6.2 million in core funding to be provided by the Department of Agriculture and Food to the United Nations World Food Programme. "This money will be used by WFP to provide food to the hungry in Africa and elsewhere in the most efficient way possible," Minister Smith said.

WFP are currently fighting hunger across the globe. Within Africa, drought has led to a crisis situation, particularly in the Horn of Africa including Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia and Djibouti. In Southern Africa, constant poverty and the threat of HIV/Aids continues to threaten the food security of many. There are also many other crisis situations throughout the globe that are not highlighted by the media and are forgotten emergencies.

"It is because of this that the Department of Agriculture and Food provides Ireland's core contribution to the WFP in cash and allows them the discretion to direct it where it is most needed," Minister Smith said.

"This contribution can be used by WFP in the areas most in need and in the most effective way."

This type of funding gives maximum flexibility and allows WFP to best use their expertise in fighting hunger and to respond rapidly to crises. The funding will be used to bring food aid as a response to natural and man made emergencies, to help bring people from crisis to recovery and in support of logistics to speed up the delivery of aid.

In addition to the core funding provided by the Department of Agriculture and Food, Irish Aid in the Department of Foreign Affairs, responds to requests for funding for specific WFP emergency appeals. This combined approach makes Ireland's contributions to WFP especially useful to the organisation. All Irish funding to WFP is in the form of untied cash grants.

Minister Smith emphasised the fact that in the last six years, the Department of Agriculture and Food has almost doubled its contributions to WFP: "In 2000, we contributed just under €3.2 million. This year our contribution has reached €6.2 million."

Link to World Food Programme Press Release http://www.wfp.org/english/?ModuleID=137&Key=2058

31 March, 2006

NOTE FOR EDITORS

The World Food Programme (WFP) was established in 1962 and is the food aid organisation of the United Nations. It is an aid programme, which operates on the basis of voluntary contributions by donor countries pledged at irregular intervals. The WFP provides food aid primarily to low-income, food deficit countries, to assist in the implementation of economic and social development projects and to meet the relief needs of victims of natural and other disasters. In 2004 the WFP fed 113 million people in 80 countries. Its operation in Iraq was the biggest single operation in the history of WFP. Currently some of WFP's major operations include: Eastern Africa (Kenya, Somalia, Djibouti and Ethiopia) Southern Africa (Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique and Zimbabwe) and elsewhere.

Ireland was the seventh highest per capita contributor to WFP in 2005, with an average contribution of around €3.50 per person

Date Released: 31 March 2006