€2m boost to combat hunger in Africa

The Government today pledged €2m to combat hunger in Africa.

Farmers in Malawi will benefit from the donation that will provide subsidised seeds, fertilisers and pesticides to increase maize production for vulnerable families.

The cash will also improve infant and maternal nutrition by supporting research to provide high-quality, disease-free seeds for mothers and young children.

Peter Power, Minister of State for Overseas Development, said the fight against hunger was a cornerstone of Ireland’s overseas aid programme.

“Since the national agricultural programme was introduced in 2006 in response to the food crisis in Malawi, the number of people needing food aid has fallen from more than five million to fewer than 150,000,” said Mr Power.

“The improvements have transformed Malawi from a net importer to a net exporter of maize and contributed to rapid economic growth.

“Notwithstanding these very impressive achievements, more than 50% of the population still live below the poverty line.

“Without this national subsidy programme, the vast majority of small farmers would not be able to afford fertiliser or improved seed, so their yields would be low and their families would remain at risk of hunger.”

The money was pledged through Irish Aid, the Government’s programme for oversees development at the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Malawi, which received a further €8.8m this year, is one of nine priority countries with whom Irish Aid has a long-term development partnership.


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