FAO chief appeals for contributions to food security fund

Paris- France (PANA) -- Concerned about increasing food insecurity in developing countries, the head of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Thursday urged the industrialised G-8 nations to contribute to a trust fund for food security.
FAO Director General Jacques Diouf said the fund, proposed to start with 500 million dollars, would be used to support agricultural production in developing countries.
Speaking at a press conference in Rome ahead of the G-8 meeting, opening Friday in Genoa, Italy, Diouf wondered whether the world would "continue to watch the hungry people die silently".
"The poor and the developing countries are tired of declarations that are not followed by actions," he said, noting that resources from donors and major financial institutions have been dwindling over the last five years.
"How can we achieve the World Food Summit goals with fewer resources?" he queried.
The 1996 World Food summit set the goal of reducing by half the number of hungry people by 2015.
A review of progress achieved five years later will be undertaken during the World Food Summit slated for 5-9 November, 2001 in Rome.
The conference is expected to raise political concerns on the issue of hunger at the highest levels and help refocus priority on fighting hunger.
Diouf pointed out that the recent OAU summit, held in Lusaka, Zambia, sent a message to the G-8 leaders asking them to personally take part in the forthcoming World Food Summit and to contribute to the food security trust fund.
According to Diouf, more resources and mechanisms, including the trust fund, were needed to "help poor countries help themselves" by producing their own food.
Calling for more investments in agriculture to fight hunger, Diouf observed that total lending to agriculture and rural development by the World bank and regional financial institutions amounted to USD 3.
5 billion in 1999.
OECD countries spent around 361 billion dollars the same year on supporting their farmers.
Diouf was optimistic that the G-8 leaders would give priority consideration to the elimination of hunger worldwide as their agenda in Genoa includes, for the first time, discussion on food security.

19 july 2001 20:58:00




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