Double donations to WFP, MPs say

MPs have called on the international community to double the amount of money it donates to the World Food Programme (WFP).

A Commons committee said on Wednesday 20 million additional tonnes of food was needed to prevent new groups of people falling victim to global food price rises.

According to the international development committee, annual donations of $3 billion (£1.5 billion) represent just half of what the WFP needs to stem the international crisis.

Chairman Malcolm Bruce said: “Recent food price rises have greatly exacerbated the difficulties poor people face in accessing nourishing food.

“The World Bank has warned that up to 100 million people are at risk of being dragged back into poverty. The Department for International Development (DFID) should do all it can to compensate for rising prices in its contributions to the WFP, which is carrying out a crucial role at the frontline of hunger, and encourage other donors to do the same.”

In their report MPs also note the discrepancy between spending levels on nutrition aid and other international projects.

About $250 million (£125 million) is spent on nutrition aid annually compared to $3 billion combating HIV/Aids, despite malnutrition being responsible for five times more child deaths than Aids.

Mr Bruce added that the international community had no choice but to look beyond the current food crisis and address the long-term factors.

The WFP told the organisation welcomed acknowledgment of the need for increased funding at a time of high food and fuel prices.

“We’re grateful to the world leaders who have recognised the need to respond to this challenge in creative and innovative ways,” a spokesperson said.

“It is not something that is going to pass us by; it is a challenge that will remain with us for some time ahead.”

On nutrition the representative added the WFP has “long recognised” the added value that can be achieved in human intervention if there is a focus on nutritionally enhancing the food that you provide with added vitamins and minerals.