The Government of the United Kingdom yesterday announced a â‚¤455 million ($910million) aid package to address rising global food prices confronting the world.
The International Development Secretary of UK, Mr Douglas Alexander, who announced this in a release issued by the Department for International Development (DFID), said the package was designed to address both short term needs and provide long term solution.
Under the aid package, $60 million (â‚¤30million) will be given to support recent appeals by the World Food Programme (WFP) for countries most threatened by the rising food prices, Mr Alexander said.
$800 million (â‚¤400 million) would be devoted to agricultural research and part of the department's new research strategy over five years, that would double DFID's current spending and help poor countries grow more food for themselves, he said.
Mr Alexander further stated that $50 million (â‚¤25 million) will this year be given to boost the incomes of the poorest people in Ethiopia, one of the most vulnerable countries hit by the food crises.
The Secretary stated that 'Rising food prices are a concern for us all, affecting the poor in every society. But in the poorest countries in the world, millions are going without food every day, creating social division and unrest'.
He said, the package would include supporting the essential work of the WFP to alleviate the immediate problems, and also address longer-term solutions. 'This is why I have also announced longer term investment in research, to help poor countries become less reliant on aid and to increase agricultural productivity' he added.
Mr Alexander declared that there is no simple answer to the current global situation. However, in response to the crisis, UK will work with key international institutions, such as the World Bank, IMF and UN, to develop a comprehensive approach that will help put food on the table for nearly a billion people going hungry across the world.
The current crisis is being caused by high and rising food prices, not a shortage of food. The solution is to improve access to food for poor people. Prices are rising because of increasing demand for food due to population growth, and increasing oil prices and their impact on the cost of food production, processing and distribution.
DFID's aid package announced will combine with the existing work of the department, investing in short and long term solutions to tackle world hunger, the first of the Millennium Development Goals.
The £400 million for agricultural research is part of a larger funding announcement to be made by the Secretary of State for International Development for £1 billion over five years for DFID's research strategy.