NZ to make major food aid contribution

Wednesday 4 June 2008, 5:12PM

By Rt Hon Winston Peters


New Zealand will contribute $9.5 million to the international response to the global food crisis, Foreign Minister Winston Peters announced today.


The money will be the largest humanitarian contribution since the Asian Tsunami, and will be delivered through the government’s aid agency, NZAID.


“The impact of rising food prices on the world’s poorest people cannot be underestimated, and it is important New Zealand does what it can to assist," said Mr Peters.


“The United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP), which focuses on feeding people in life or death situations – particularly women and children – will receive $7 million of the $9.5 million for emergency food aid. It is a global organisation and will ensure our assistance gets to those who need it most.


“The government will also contribute $2.5 million to the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) for a longer term response, aimed at assisting developing countries to make the most of their agricultural resources.


“The statistics speak for themselves. One child dies every five seconds from hunger related causes, and an estimated 850 million people go hungry every day. Rising food prices threaten to add millions more to these numbers.


“The contributions announced today is a practical step that New Zealand can take towards helping the world’s most vulnerable people have access to food.


“However aid is only one aspect of the response. At a global level, New Zealand is advocating a multi-faceted approach to the food crisis, covering issues such as climate change adaptation, biofuel policies, and a successful conclusion to the Doha Round of WTO trade negotiations,” Mr Peters said.


New Zealand’s contribution will be outlined by Agriculture Minister Jim Anderton at the Food and Agriculture Organisation’s (FAO) food security meeting in Rome tonight (NZT).