Minister Power welcomes G8 focus on hunger
Minister of State for Overseas Development, Peter Power today welcomed the announcement by the G8 of a $20 billion investment in food security in the developing world. He emphasised that the fight against global hunger is the key priority for Ireland’s aid programme following the launch of the Government’s Hunger Task Force Report at the UN last September.
Speaking at the end of a five-day official visit to Tanzania, where he saw the impact of Ireland’s investment in agriculture, Minister Power stated: “Since the launch of the Hunger Task Force Report I have been raising within the EU, at the UN and at international meetings the need for the international community to put hunger and food security at the centre of global development efforts. The announcement by the G8 is very significant. We must all ensure that it is implemented urgently”.
The G8 Summit in L’Aquila has agreed to focus the investment on seeds, fertilisers, grain storage and irrigation systems for small farmers, to provide a long-term solution to acute hunger and poverty in the world’s poorest countries.
The Minister said:
“I am heartened to see that this investment will be targeted at increasing the yields of small farmers, so they can feed their families, send their children to school and escape the hand-to-mouth existence that has left more than one billion people hungry.
“The Government’s Hunger Taskforce Report, which I had the
privilege of launching in the UN in September 2008 in the presence
of the Taoiseach, Brian Cowen and UN Secretary General, Ban
Ki-moon, had three key recommendations: increasing the productivity
of smallholder farmers in Africa; improving infant and maternal
nutrition and ensuring that the world’s leaders honour their
commitments to those most in need.
Today’s announcement is a clear signal that those important priorities are reflected in a global strategy to address the scourge of hunger and food insecurity.
“During my visit to Tanzania this week, I have seen the real impact that our investment in agriculture is having on the lives of small farmers. As lead donor in agriculture in Tanzania, Ireland has a key role in shaping policy and focusing investment on increasing productivity.
The seeds, fertiliser and training officers which Ireland is providing in partnership with the Tanzanian Government have seen small farmers’ yields increase exponentially. In Dakawa village last Wednesday, I met farmers whose yields have increased from five bags of rice per acre to 60 bags. This enormous improvement has allowed these farmers to build their families’ lives and invest in their farms. These are long-term and sustainable improvements, which we can expect to see replicated around the developing world as a result of the €20 billion investment by the G8.
“I have designated the eradication of hunger as a cornerstone of our overseas development programme and committed to spending 20% of our total budget on hunger reduction. We will follow up on the G8 announcement in our ongoing discussions with key international partners, including the US Administration, on a strong coordinated international drive to end the scandal of hunger and food insecurity”.
Notes to the editor.
• Photographs of Minister of State Peter Power visiting a rice irrigation scheme in Dakawa village, Tanzania, were released through the Press Association this week.
• The Irish Government’s White Paper on Irish Aid identified hunger and food security as fundamental elements of the global development challenge. The Hunger Taskforce, comprising national and international experts from Government, the UN and civil society, was established to identify the contributions Ireland could make to international efforts to address food insecurity. Their report was launched by Minister of State for Overseas Development, Peter Power, at UN Headquarters in New York in September 2008.
• Minister Power subsequently designated the eradication of hunger as a cornerstone of the Irish Aid programme and committed to spending 20% of our overall aid budget to eradicate hunger.
10th July 2009