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WINFA head blasts developed countries

WINFA head blasts developed countries

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The leading developed countries and major international institutions have been accused of ‘hypocrisy’ and ‘not being serious’ about implementing solutions to the problems of feeding the millions of the world’s poor and hungry people.{{more}}

This charge was made by Co-ordinator of the Windward Islands Farmers Association (WINFA), Renwick Rose, as he addressed a high-level Briefing in Brussels last Thursday on the occasion of World Food Day. The Briefing was organized by the ACP-EU Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), in collaboration with the European Commission, the EU Presidency, the ACP Secretariat, and a group of European NGOs.

It was attended by well over 100 policy makers, ACP diplomats based in Brussels, representatives of EU member states, the European Parliament, European Commission and a wide range of civil society networks.

Noting that the current spate of rapid increases in the price of food has seen the number of the world’s hungry shoot up from over 800 million today, Rose lamented the failure of the international community to tackle this crisis. He said that in spite of proclamations to halve the number of hungry people in the world by 2015, the major nations and international bodies were not living up to their commitments.

Giving a poignant example of double standards, the WINFA Coordinator contrasted the response of the developed nations to the financial crisis with that to the food crisis. Whereas over $2000 billion had been mobilized in two weeks to meet the financial crisis, the $10 billion that the World Bank estimates is needed to meet the food crisis and feed the hungry is to be mobilized.

Rose blamed the international trading environment, the neglect of agriculture and skewed economic and development policies over the years for the world food crisis. He said that all the best plans and efforts will not succeed unless farmers and farmers organizations are essential elements in the design, implementation and monitoring of such programmes.

The WINFA Coordinator called for infrastructural (physical and social) support for agriculture and rural development, programmes to organizational and management capacity of farmers and their organizations, priority to increasing the efficiency of farmers, reducing input costs and increasing farmers margins and greater emphasis on developing local and regional markets for farmers.

The Briefing was also addressed by officials of the European Commission and the ACP Secretariat, including ACP Secretary General Sir John Kaputin, the Director of the CTA and was chaired by Chairman of the ACP Council of Ambassadors. FAO Director General, Jacques Diouf, delivered the key address by videoconference.

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