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EU will continue to foster resilience among poor, says Barroso
The European Union (EU) will continue to build long-term resilience among the most vulnerable, tackle the root causes of hunger and poverty and improve nutrition, said José Manuel Barroso, addressing the FAO Conference. Barroso, President of the European Commission, accepted an award for the EU's €1 billion initiative against hunger, partly implemented together with FAO in response to high food prices in poor countries.
In presenting the award, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva praised the EU for having used agriculture as a solution for the crisis: "As a result of these and other efforts, agriculture and food security are once more seen as entry points for growth and development strategies in many countries, and increasingly designated as priorities for international development assistance."
The award ceremony took place on the opening day of the 38th FAO Conference. Barroso accepted the Jacques Diouf Award for the "EU Food Facility", launched by the EU in response to the food price crisis in 2008-2011. The Facility helped 59 million people in 50 countries.
"The programmes financed under the Food Facility allowed smallholders to increase and diversify their sources of income, through better land, livestock, and water management," Barroso said. "Beneficiaries saw a 50 percent increase in agricultural production and a rise in the household annual income of on average €290. They have helped to save the lives of those who were most vulnerable to the price hikes, especially women and children."
"Next week I will attend the G8 Summit in Lough Erne and I will underline once again the need to make malnutrition history. This must be one of the main focuses of international development agenda." Barroso stressed that the EU will continue to respond to food crises in vulnerable countries, like in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa, affected by poverty, climate hazards, high and volatile food prices, pressure on natural resources, rapid demographic growth, fragile governance, and political instability.
The EC shares the prize with the Indian NGO Self Employed Women's Association, which is helping extremely poor women through the integrated provision of agricultural extension, financial, literacy, education, care, housing, and health services.
"When women build food security they are able to educate their children, save, plan for future, participate in planning, and participate in decision making processes," said Reema Nanavaty on behalf of SEWA. "Such food security brings sense of dignity and self respect."