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India Changes From Aid Recipient Into Major Donor

India Changes From Big Aid Recipient Into Major Donor, UN Food Agency Says

New York, Sep 13 2006 10:00AM

Once a country just on the receiving end of international assistance, India is playing an increasing and important role in assuring food security for South Asia, particularly in Afghanistan, a senior official of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said following meetings with the country’s Government.

“From being a net recipient in 2000, the Government of India is presently the 15th largest donor to the World Food Programme in 2005,” said Tony Banbury, WFP’s Asia Regional Director. “This speaks volumes about India’s increasing importance in confronting global challenges such as hunger, malnutrition and illiteracy in South Asia and around the world.

Mr. Banbury also noted the important role of food assistance in maintaining security in India’s neighboring countries of Sri Lanka, Nepal, Myanmar and Pakistan.

In the last three years, India has made donations worth approximately $52 million to help assist the children in Afghanistan and Iraq to come back and attend schools. Nearly 2 million children benefit from this contribution.

“Funding for our food aid programmes in Nepal, in Sri Lanka, and in Pakistan, continue to be a challenge,” said Mr. Banbury. “I am concerned that any reductions in these feeding operations can undermine recovery and foster insecurity in these neighboring states to India.”

Mr. Banbury has been visiting India for a week, traveling to flood-devastated Rajastan and to Gujarat to visit WFP-supported projects for the rural poor of India. He noted the benefits of many of these pilot programmes in bringing improvements to the lives of the rural poor, noting that thanks to the partnership between the agency and the Government, WFP provides fortified food to some 2 million children and pregnant and lactating women in remote tribal areas of India where malnutrition is at its worst.

Ends

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