First results of the EU 1 bn Food Facility

EU website. With more than € 500 million already disbursed and 97 % of funds committed after only one year and a half from its adoption, the € 1 billion EU Food Facility has provided a fast and efficient response in tackling food insecurity. The Commission present today a booklet on the use of the Food Facility. It shows that around 50 million people all over the world are receiving support from the facility and results are starting to show. Faced with an impressive number of high–quality proposals but a limited budget, the European Commission is calling on other donors to help funding projects under the newly launched “Food Facility Auction Floor”.

“People struggling with hunger nowadays is unacceptable. Through the EU Food Facility, Europe has been able to provide a rapid and efficient response to the food crisis faced by developing countries. The Commission delivered on its promises, ensuring a high impact of the aid offered to countries in need. We are reaching over 50 million people, including many small-holder farmers, and this will increase.” said Andris Piebalgs, EU Commissioner for Development.

Following the high global food prices in 2008, the € 1 billion Food Facility was approved in December 2008 as a rapid EU reaction instrument to address food insecurity in 50 developing countries. It provides for funding to improve access to agricultural inputs; sustain safety-net programmes to the most vulnerable population and support microcredit, investment, equipment, infrastructure and training.

Most funds are channelled through the International Organisations in the UN High Level Task Force on Soaring Food Prices. These organisations have existing frameworks for policy dialogue and assistance in place that can be easily supported and scaled up. In addition, funds have been provided to more than 222 projects implemented by Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) following a competitive Call for Proposals, and to a number of national Governments in the form of budget support in order to address the effects of the high food prices in their countries.

Concrete results on the ground

Actions on the ground started in 2009 and results are staring to show in many of the 50 target countries around the World.

In Niger, the EU and UNICEF started a partnership in 2009 for the treatment of 65,000 severely malnourished children under-five years old in therapeutic feeding centres via the Food Facility. On top of that, an additional contribution to UNICEF of € 5 million has been recently signed to stop the escalating nutrition crisis by addressing the country’s food scarcity and nutritional problems, targeting the most vulnerable children.

In Lesotho, soaring food prices and the recent global economic downturn struck hard, especially the majority of its 1.9 million people who rely on agriculture. The EU and FAO are assisting over 36 000 farmers, more than half of its vulnerable farmers and 22 000 beneficiaries already received 715 tonnes of seeds. This assistance will lead to 10-18 000 additional tonnes of crops harvested, a substantial boost in a country where the total cereal production was 86 000 tonnes in 2009.

Food Facility Auction Floor

Within the Food Facility, a Call for Proposals launched in 2009 received an overwhelming response, with an impressive number of high–quality proposals. As a consequence, although the present Call for Proposals amounted to approximately € 218 million, with 222 World-wide projects funded by the EU, many more highly-rated proposals could not receive funding from the European Commission due to budget limitations. That is why the European Commission produced a booklet presenting the best 84 ready-to-go high-quality projects to facilitate matches between investors and project developers. Interested investors and donors are free to contact the organisations for additional information on the projects, to discuss potential contributions and possibly adapt the projects to their needs. With this auction floor, the European Commission aims to increase cost effectiveness, coherence and coordination in line with the Accra Agenda, by giving access to ready-to-fund projects. This is an opportunity to respond to the commitments made in the G8 summit of L’Aquila one year ago to mobilise aid towards food security and agriculture.

Food Security

Addressing food security remains an issue that is high on the development agenda of the European Commission. On 31 March 2010, the European Commission adopted the Communication ‘An EU policy framework to assist developing countries in addressing food security challenges’, which sets out the policy priorities for the years to come in order to move forward in achieving the international agreed target of halving by 2015 the proportion who suffer from hunger in the world.

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