Monday, November 10, 2008

UN using food aid as lever to lift African farmers

The U.N.'s World Food Program will spend $1 billion buying food for the hungry this year, up $230 million from 2007.

Now the organization is trying to reach beyond simply handing out sacks of Western grain to help feed emaciated children. It wants to stimulate farmers to produce more — and replace those shipments from U.S. and other agribusinesses — by providing a reliable market for their local crops.

The WFP is mounting this new effort in 21 countries, mostly in Africa, against the backdrop of a global food crisis with many causes, among them Africa's long-running failure to feed itself. But experts say still more will be needed for a turnaround in African agriculture.


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