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UN food agency warns of Africa funding gap

Friday, May 11, 2012

Jose Graziano da Silva says the FAO lacks money for its initiatives in the Sahel and Horn of Africa (AFP/File, Juan Mabromata)

ROME — The head of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, Jose Graziano da Silva, warned Thursday of a major funding gap for activities in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa.

Speaking at an international economic forum in Madrid, Graziano da Silva said that although there is "increasing convergence on how to boost food security and development", there is currently significant funds shortage, according to a statement issued by the FAO in Rome.

A dramatic example was the lack of money for FAO initiatives in sub-Saharan Sahel nations and in the Horn of Africa, he added.

"In the Horn of Africa we are losing the window of opportunity to build on our recent achievements -- which helped to overcome the famine declared last year in Somalia -- increasing the resilience of families facing drought," the FAO chief warned.

He added that boosting food security entailed combining emergency action with support for family farming and smallholder production, as well as promoting long term development and reducing vulnerability to extreme events, like drought.

With one in every seven people in the world suffering from chronic hunger and malnutrition, "fighting hunger is a challenge too great for FAO or any government to overcome alone," Graziano da Silva added.

"For this reason we have opened the doors of FAO to new allies with whom we share a common set of principles," he said.

Graziano da Silva was on an official visit to Spain and on Wednesday took part in the first edition of the FAO-Spain Awards for achievement in the fight against hunger. Spain's Queen Sofia presided over the ceremony.


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