Emergency Grants to Help People Most Affected by Global Food Crisis



    
    Grants to World Food Programme and others to provide nutritious food,
    support small-scale farmers

    
    SEATTLE, Aug. 14 /CNW/ -- The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today
announced a $17.6 million package of grants to help people most affected by
the global food crisis and support small-scale farmers in developing
countries.
    The largest grant -- $10 million to the World Food Programme (WFP) --
will continue the organization's efforts to feed young children and pregnant
and breastfeeding mothers in Niger, Cote D'Ivoire, and Burkina Faso, where
malnutrition rates are staggering. Catholic Relief Services, Mercy Corps, and
Oxfam America will receive a total of $7.6 million. These grants include
providing food for those most in need; helping families earn money for food
through employment opportunities or cash-for-work programs; and helping
farmers continue and improve their production in times of crisis.
    Rising food and fuel prices have put 950 million people worldwide at risk
of hunger and malnutrition, according to the United Nations. Young children,
whose early nutritional needs are critical to ensure long-term health, and
women are at the greatest risk. Increases in farming costs, such as
transportation and fertilizer, are adding to small farmers' burdens.
    While these grants address some of the most urgent consequences of the
global food crisis, the foundation is also deeply committed to funding
nutritional programs that promote lasting health and supporting long-term,
sustainable efforts to help hundreds of millions of small farmers boost their
productivity so they can feed their families and overcome poverty.
    "The current global food crisis requires immediate action to feed people
most at risk,'' said Sylvia Mathews Burwell, president of the foundation's
Global Development Program. ''In the longer term, since agriculture and the
needs of small-scale farmers in the developing world have been increasingly
neglected in recent decades, we need a significant reinvestment in
agricultural development -- from donors and developing countries -- that
focuses on helping small farmers boost their yields and increase their
incomes."
    Agricultural development is the largest initiative in the foundation's
Global Development Program. The foundation has made more than $800 million in
commitments in the sector with a focus on helping small-scale farmers in
Africa and South Asia. The grants span the agricultural value chain -- from
seeds and soil to farm management and market access -- so that millions of
small farmers have the tools and opportunities to live healthy, productive
lives.




For further information:

For further information: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Media Office,
+1-206-709-3400, media@gatesfoundation.org


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