$9.5m for food aid


We’re giving $9.5m in aid to help fight the world food crisis.

The funding would be delivered via NZAid with $7m going to the UN World Food Programme which focuses on feeding people in life or death situations. The remainder would go to the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research for a longer term response.

I’m pleased to see that some of the money is going towards finding a long term solution on humanitarian grounds but also because food shortages threaten world security.

 The CGIAR website  lists its priorities as: 

  • Reducing hunger and malnutrition by producing more and better food through genetic improvement
  • Sustaining agriculture biodiversity both in situ and ex situ
  • Promoting opportunities for economic development and through agricultural diversification and high-value commodities and products
  • Ensuring sustainable management and conservation of water, land and forests
  • Improving policies and facilitating institutional innovation

  I wonder if genetic improvement includes GM and if those who oppose GM would relax their opposition if it meant the difference between people starving or not?

 The website also notes:

 Without public investment in international agricultural research through the CGIAR,

  • world production would be 4-5 percent lower
  • developing countries would produce 7-8 percent less food
  • world food and feed grain prices would be 18-21 percent higher
  • 13-15 million more children would be malnourished

For every $1 invested in CGIAR research, $9 worth of additional food is produced in developing countries, where it is needed most. The evidence is clear: agricultural growth alleviates poverty and hunger.

 The food crisis provides both challenges and opportunities for New Zealand producers and we have a lot of expertise to offer the world. It doesn’t have to be through Government aid either as the Kyrgyzstan New Zealand Rural Trust  has shown.

 The Trust was formed a year ago when the Government stopped funding an aid programme there. It aims to assist with income generation, livelihood improvement and livestock performance.

 The present programme has two main threads:

• Poverty reduction subprojects include potato production and storage, goat production, bakery, sewing shops, milk processing and pasteurizing. Most of these sub-projects have a “social obligation” element where the first group of families assisted under the project will help other families in the community.

• Livestock performance subprojects include establishment of sainfoin (a high altitude legume), improve wintering barns to improve hygiene and survival, and making silage to improve feed quality.

Future programmes may include support for a microcredit agency which will offer Grameen Bank style loans to poor families to invest in income generation activities, as well as continuation of the successful pro-poor and livestock improvement subprojects.

 Update: Oh dear, am I being niaive in my approval of the donation to CGIAR?

No Minister  reckons it’s money down the drain:


That will be the last anyone ever sees of that $2,500,000.


Why don’t we donate $7m of actual NZ produced food and help some local manufacturers. That’s probably about 700,000 blocks of cheese. Then it becomes a win win.

And Whale Oil has a better idea to combat food shortages:


Far from New Zealand putting its money where its mouth is they are putting OUR money where it will evaporate faster than an iceblock in Death Valley.

The single best thing we can all do to combat the world wide shortage of foodstuffs is cancel our obsession with Kyoto and Biofuels.

It wont cost a cent. Best of all it will remove thousands of consultants from government departments writing endless papers on how the department will need to be carbon neutral.






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