Italy gives €14 million for food security
Italian Government strengthens commitment on hunger
16 July 2008, Rome – The Italian Development Cooperation will make an additional contribution of 14 million euros to the FAO Trust Fund for Food Security and Food Safety, Italian authorities have announced. The Italian Government said the payment was a contribution to resolving the current world food crisis following the Food Security Summit hosted by FAO last month.
“I am extremely grateful to the Italian Government for this extra funding”, said FAO Director-General Dr. Jacques Diouf.
“It highlights Italy and FAO’s common vision of goals and priorities at a time when the dramatic rise in global food prices is threatening the livelihoods of millions of poor people in developing countries. But it is also evidence of Italy’s renewed commitment and innovative approach in tackling world food security, a move that we warmly welcome.”
At the FAO Summit in June, and at the last G8 meeting held in Japan, the Italian Government confirmed it intended to keep issues such as food security, the fight against poverty and sustainable agricultural development high on the international political agenda. Food security, with a special focus on Africa, will be a priority during the Italian G8 presidency in 2009.
Investing in agriculture to boost food production
Italian contributions to the FAO Trust Fund for Food Security have so far helped fund 29 rural development projects, almost half of them in Africa (14) with others in the Middle East, Central Asia, Eastern Europe and the Caribbean and Pacific regions.
A common feature of all these projects is that they identify agriculture and rural development as key factors for reducing poverty and ensuring food security. They also offer training initiatives to conserve biodiversity and help local producers’ associations find commercial outlets for their products, with special emphasis on strengthening local markets.
Some of the new funds will be used to extend and scale up several projects already under way, such as the programme in West Africa, which now covers seven countries, including some of the world’s poorest.
As part of this initiative, a link with the international non-profit organization Slow Food is helping to safeguard agrifood biodiversity and develop local and export markets in four West African countries: Guinea Bissau, Mali, Senegal and Sierra Leone.
New projects on the way
Several new projects are at the planning stage, and these will extend the scope of activities to other regions: one will improve food safety standards and streamline the food value chain in 4 countries of Central America (Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Salvador); another, in Bangladesh, aims to achieve food security through better product marketing and improve market access for small-scale agricultural producers.
FAO’s Trust Fund for Food Security was launched in 2002 by FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf during the World Food Summit, to give greater impetus to combating hunger. Italy was one of the first FAO members to respond to the appeal, with a pledge of 100 million euros.
* Slow Food is an international non-profit organization founded in Italy in 1986 and now present in 130 countries.
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