COMMUNICATIONS NEWS: Farm-Africa appeals for governments to support agriculture

Farm-Africa is to launch a campaign calling on governments to do more to support agriculture in Africa rather than spending millions on emergency food aid.

"We are calling on major donors to redirect a significant proportion of their development budgets into practical schemes to help smallholder farmers increase their home-grown production," said chief executive Christie Peacock at the group's annual meeting last week. "The long-term objective should be greater self-sufficiency and less reliance on hand outs."

According to campaigners, the UK international development department spent £12.8 million supporting African agriculture in 2001/2002, but spent more than £48 million supplying food aid to Ethiopia alone the following year.

The campaign points out that more than 20 million people worldwide are dependent on donated food aid, but that government support for small-scale agriculture in poor countries has been falling for the past 20 years.

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