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Poor Farmers Receive Aid To Cope With Food Prices

Poor farmers in 48 countries receive UN aid to cope with high food prices

9 July 2008 - The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is providing seeds, fertilizers and other supplies to small farmers in 48 countries as part of an initiative to help vulnerable households cope with the impact of soaring food prices.

Some $21 million in new spending was announced today by the FAO to boost the next planting season and to demonstrate that by increasing the supply of key agricultural inputs small farmers can rapidly raise their level of food production.

The agency says it hopes the initiative will have a catalytic effect which will encourage development partners to contribute to similar projects, but on a larger scale.

According to FAO, the countries most affected, especially in Africa, will need at least a total of $1.7 billion to start reviving agricultural systems that have been neglected for several decades.

The unprecedented hike in food prices, which rose 52 per cent between 2007 and 2008, has had severe economic, social and political consequences in poor countries. Over the past year, fertilizer prices shot up at a much faster rate than the rates for food.

With today's announcement, FAO's initiative on soaring food prices now covers a total of 54 countries.

ENDS

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