Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore, TD, today announced €8 million in funding to tackle child under-nutrition and support cutting-edge research to boost agricultural productivity in the developing world.
The Tánaiste also announced that Ireland has met the target of investing 20% of the Irish Aid budget in targeted and effective programmes to tackle global hunger. The target was set following publication of the Hunger Task Force Report of 2008.
Speaking at the launch of Concern Worldwide’s campaign“1,000 Days of Baby Nutrition” in Dublin today, the Tánaiste said Ireland had become a leading advocate internationally for urgent action to tackle hunger.
“Irish people have shown, by their generosity, time and time again that we will not ignore the plight of the poorest and most vulnerable– even during difficult times at home.
“Over the last three years Ireland has forged a leading role in global efforts to fight hunger. Working with US Secretary of State Clinton and with UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon, we have put food security at the centre of the international agenda, particularly within the United Nations system.
“Through the Irish Aid programme, Ireland is investing in cutting-edge agricultural research to increase the yields of poor farmers and support them to build better futures for their children. We are also supporting programmes to tackle child and maternal under-nutrition through targeted food programmes and food fortification to deliver the micronutrients which are critical for pregnant women and babies. The funding that I am announcing today will help us to further build on this work.”
The Tánaiste said Ireland would capitalise on our Presidency of the European Union in 2013 to highlight hunger on the European Union’s development agenda. He also paid tribute to Concern Worldwide for their campaign to combat hunger and under-nutrition.
Minister for Trade and Development, Joe Costello, who chaired a panel discussion at today’s conference, said he had witnessed the impact of Ireland’s targeted programmes to tackle hunger during visits to Ethiopia and Malawi.
“Our focus on tackling hunger is producing results which we can see and measure: In Malawi, Ireland’s support of a Government programme to provide 1.6 million farmers with subsidised fertiliser and seeds has led to enormous improvements in the number of families who now have enough food to sustain them.
“In Ethiopia, our support to a rural safety nets programme includes an irrigation scheme with a cash or food element for work carried out by smallholder farmers. This is protecting up to eight million people from hunger each year. The fight against global hunger and maternal and baby under-nutrition will remain a priority for the Government.”