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EU Food Facility Grant to Boost Farmers’ Productivity

ROME -- Small-scale farmers in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sierra Leone are soon to receive a productivity boost, thanks to innovative projects of the UN World Food Programme (WFP) funded with a 39-million euro donation from the European Union (EU).

“Thanks to this generosity from the European Union, millions of people will have access to food and nutrition who otherwise would not have,” said WFP Executive Director, Josette Sheeran, citing the importance of the Food Facility launched by the EU to help people in developing countries overcome growing food insecurity.

The projects are aimed at helping poor farmers – most of them women – more efficiently produce food through programs such as group farming, crop diversification and kitchen gardens. In some communities, WFP will provide food in exchange for work on projects aimed at improving irrigation and flood resistance, or planting trees.

These WFP food security projects come under the first allocation from the new 1-billion euro EU Food Facility, to respond to the growing food security problems faced by many developing countries. About 1.5 million people will benefit from the first four WFP programmes.

Sheeran said the EU’s commitment to the world’s poorest farmers was an important signal that at a time of financial crisis in the industrialized world, the organisation had not forgotten the needs of the most vulnerable people in developing countries.

The allocations include the following:

  • Bangladesh, 20 million euro to provide food and cash in exchange for work on flood control, irrigation projects and raised seed beds, training in on-farm entrepreneurship such as group farming and crop diversification and other income generation projects;
  • Pakistan, 14 million euro to increase crop production, plant kitchen gardens, provide food in exchange for work on water & sanitation projects, the production of 35 million tree saplings and the planting of 10 million trees;
  • Sierra Leone, 5.4 million euro to provide food in exchange for work on rehabilitation of inland valley swamps and smallholder plantations and improvement of feeder roads to help farmers bring their produce to market.