Diouf welcomes US commitment
Statement by FAO's Director General, Dr Jacques Diouf, following the announcement by U.S. President George W. Bush that he is asking Congress to approve an additional US$770 million in food aid and assistance to agriculture to address the food price crisis.
“I am very pleased that our approaches to the United States Government to seek its support in addressing the crisis of soaring food prices and resulting social and political consequences have received a very positive response on the part of President George W. Bush
At the joint press conference in Bern on Tuesday 29 April, following a meeting of the Heads of the Secretariat, the Agencies, Funds and Programmes, the United Nations Secretary-General and the Director-General of FAO, who jointly appoint the Executive Director of the World Food Programme, fulfilled their obligations by strongly supporting full funding of the emergency requirements of US$755 million for the World Food Programme.
On my part, I had also appealed at an earlier Press Conference at FAO headquarters on 11 April 2008, for funds to allow WFP to fulfill its purposes in addressing the immediate humanitarian crisis by providing the food aid urgently needed by poor people around the world.
The level of funds that the President of the United States of America has asked Congress to provide, together with resources expected from other donors, should enable the countries affected to overcome the constraints resulting from high market prices.
FAO, in conformity with its mandate, will focus on food production in low-income food-deficit countries, in particular raising productivity, which requires that relevant inputs, whose prices have also increased sharply, (seeds, fertilizer, animal feed etc) reach the farmers in time to allow them to have a successful production in 2008 and 2009. To this effect FAO will use its technical knowledge and expertise to assist Member Nations to ensure that these inputs are adapted to the different types of crops and animals, but also environmental conditions (soils, water, temperature etc.). Capacity building will also need to be included in such assistance programmes to allow the respective countries to increase their food supply sustainably.
The announcement by the Government of the United States will accelerate the momentum towards the Summit on Food Security to be held at FAO Headquarters in Rome from 3-5 June 2008, which will be attended by many Heads of State and Government. Member Nations are urged to take all relevant measures as soon as possible to ensure a concrete outcome of the High-level Conference to address the immediate, short, medium and long-term challenges of world food security.
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