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UN agencies welcome G-8 food security initiative

world Updated: Jul 11, 2009 12:12 IST

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Two UN agencies - the Food and Agriculture Organisation and the International Fund for Agricultural Development on Saturday welcomed the $20 billion food security initiative announced by the leaders of the G-8 countries at their summit in Italy.

Food and Agriculture Organisation Director-General Jacques Diouf said the initiative is a welcome and encouraging policy shift in favour of helping the poor and hungry to produce their own food.

In a statement Diouf expressed confidence that the G-8 Heads of State and Government would effectively translate that pledge into concrete action. The G-8 meeting agreed to mobilise $20 billion over three years for a comprehensive strategy focusing on sustainable agricultural development.

President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development Kanayo Nwanze said the G-8 leaders had recognised that food security has two dimensions: food aid for critical situations and sustained investment in agriculture to break the poverty cycle.

Investing in smallholder agriculture is the cornerstone of this new push for development because it is the key to boosting economic growth and reducing poverty, he said.

"Women and men who farm small plots in poor countries and struggle to feed their families will be expecting the L'Aquila declaration to translate into action," he said.