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EC provides €394 food security package for world's poor

afrol News, 29 April - Four Southern African states will be covered in the new financing decision by the European Commission, under the food facility package for developing countries.

Lesotho, Madagascar, Mozambique and Zambia will be among the 23 developing countires that will benefit from a support valued at € 194 million to projects and programmes aimed at boosting agriculture and improving the food security situation in the selected countries.

Other listed states are: Benin, Bolivia, Burundi, Cambodia, Guatemala, Jamaica, Kenya, Kyrgyz Republic, Laos, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Palestinian Territories, Philippines, Senegal, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Togo, and Yemen.

The European Commission today adopted a € 394 million package, which is the second financing decision in the framework of the € 1 billion Food Facility which was adopted at the end of last year as a response to the growing food security problems in many developing countries.

Louis Michel, Commissioner responsible for Development and Humanitarian Aid, said: "This package shows how serious Europe is to assist developing countries to get agriculture back on its feet and to help poor people to improve their food security. In these tough global economic times, agriculture can provide good growth potentials in developing nations and be one source of their economic recovery. That's why Europe's support to this sector is so vital."

The Food Facility will operate for a period of 3 years covering 2009-2011 to address the period in-between emergency aid and medium- to long-term development cooperation.

The facility will support three types of activities which will include, measures to improve access to agricultural inputs like fertilisers and seeds and services like vets and advisors; small-scale measures aimed at increasing agricultural production like microcredit, rural infrastructure, training and support to professional groups in the agricultural sector; and safety net measures, allowing for social transfers to vulnerable population groups, often in the form of labour-intensive public works, such as roads, irrigation projects and others.

Five of the listed countries - Kenya, Burundi, Palestine, Philippines, Mozambique - are also covered under the first financial decision, whose funding will be channelled through International Organisations, according to the Commission's statement released today.

The Commission firther said the second part of the overall € 394 package - amounting to € 200 million - will be channelled through non-state actors, like NGOs and private sector.

"In May, the Commission will officially invite them to submit funding proposals for projects. 35 developing countries are eligible for projects under this scheme," the Commission's statement said.

On 30th March, the Commission made its first financing decision in the framework of the Food Facility, for the funding of projects of a total value of € 314 million in 23 (different) developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, said the Commission, adding that the projects to be funded will impact positively on the lives of millions of the poorest people in regoins supported.

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