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Minister Sargent Announces €10 Million To The World Food Programme

Mr Trevor Sargent TD, Minister for Food and Horticulture at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, today announced €9.96 million in funding is to be provided by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP)."This money will be used by WFP to provide food to the hungry poor in Africa and elsewhere," Minister Sargent said.

World food prices have risen by 45% in the last nine months. Food importing countries have seen their financial costs rise by 56% as there are serious global shortages of rice, wheat and maize. The increase in food prices is hitting the hungry the hardest. 162 million people are living on less than $0.50 a day and are least able to cope. More than half the world's population lives in low-income, food-deficit countries that are unable to produce or import enough food to feed their people.

The World Food Programme, which is the UN agency responsible for the provision of food aid, are fighting hunger across the globe, an ongoing battle which has been made harder by the recent increases in food prices across the world. "We are aware of the current situation regarding rising food prices which are affecting millions of people - hitting hardest those living in poverty," declared Minister Sargent, "It is because of this that we will provide Ireland's core contribution to the WFP in cash. Cash is the most flexible resource and it gives WFP complete discretion to direct food aid where it is most needed."

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 Sargent emphasised the fact that in the last seven years, the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food has more than doubled its contributions to WFP: "In 2000, we contributed just under €3.2 million. This year our contribution so far has reached almost €10 million."

Notes

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 2006, WFP fed 87.8 million people including 58.8 million children in 78 countries. Sudan was the largest single country operation in 2006. Currently some of WFP's major operations include: Eastern Africa (Kenya, Somalia, Djibouti and Ethiopia) Southern Africa (Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique and Zimbabwe) and elsewhere.

The table below shows the increases in the Department's contributions to WFP since 2000:

Annual contributions to WFP in Euro (2000-2007)

2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
3,187,005 3,729,221 4,430,000 4,430,000 5,830,000 7,175,954 8,506,000 10,510,000

Ireland was the fourth highest per capita contributor to WFP in 2006, with an average contribution of around $7.50 per person.

Date Released: 06 May 2008