G8 agrees $20 billion to fight hunger

Leaders from rich nations at the Group of Eight (G8) summit in Italy committed US$20 billion over three years to increase agricultural investment in poorer countries and to fight hunger, Reuters reported. The figure was US$5 billion more than expected. A statement issued after Friday’s talks did not make clear whether the funding was all new money, nor did it detail individual countries’ contributions.

The statement highlighted the leading industrialised nations’ new emphasis on farm aid to help poor nations to feed themselves, while remaining committed to providing emergency food assistance when needed.

G8 leaders agreed to a “coordinated, comprehensive strategy focused on sustainable agriculture development”, the statement said, and urged all countries to remove food-export restrictions and extraordinary taxes, particularly for food purchased for humanitarian reasons.

Jacques Diouf, head of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, told Reuters: “The most important thing is the shift in policy and focus on the need to help hungry and poor people to produce their own food. That’s the biggest shift in strategy I have seen over the past two decades.”

Targets for the funds are: increased agriculture productivity, harvest interventions, private-sector growth, women and smallholders, preservation of natural resources, job expansion, training and increased trade flows.

See full story