The theme for the 2010 World Food Day - ‘united against hunger’- recognises the effort made in the fight against food shortages at national, regional and international levels.
In 2009 the number of hungry people worldwide reached one billion – there have never been so many people without food. The rise in hunger can be blamed partly on soaring food prices and the financial crisis.
The EU’s biggest contribution to the fight against hunger comes in the form of its Food Facility – established as a rapid reaction response to the crisis. Since its creation in 2008, over 50 million people have benefitted directly, primarily through support for agricultural production or having food security needs met.
With a budget of 1 billion to allocate between 2009 and 2011, the facility supports NGOs, agencies within EU countries, international organisations and regional projects. By September 2010, over 220 projects in 50 countries had received funding amounting to more than €600 million. Typically the projects seek to increase agricultural production, support microcredit or provide investment, equipment, infrastructure or training.
For example, in Zambia and Zimbabwe, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is working with the government, local farmers’ organisations and NGOs to train around 300 000 farmers in conservation agriculture. At the same time, companies are being encouraged to work more closely with farmers, facilitating their access to items such as seeds and fertiliser that will help them grow crops. The result will be a long-term increase in agricultural production, affecting more than 1.5 million people.
The Food Facility comes on top of existing support for food security, which the EU provides in two ways: