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    Bush proposes $770 million for world food crisis

    Reuters
    02.05.2008 - 14:17 | Son Güncelleme:

    U.S President George W. Bush called for $770 million in new U.S. food aid donations and other measures on Thursday as Washington seeks to stave off a food crisis threatening to envelop the developing world.

    Bush, expressing concern as skyrocketing world food prices intensify unrest in poor countries from Haiti to Burkina Faso, promised the United States would take a lead in fighting the hunger now gripping a greater swath of the developing world.

    "With the new international funding I'm announcing today, we're sending a clear message to the world that America will lead the fight against hunger for years to come," Bush said.

    Surging prices for wheat, rice and other staples, along with record-high fuel prices, have eaten into aid budgets in the United States, the world's largest food aid donor.

    "I think more needs to be done. And so today I'm asking Congress to provide an additional $770 million to support food aid and development programs," Bush told reporters at the White House as he unveiled a supplemental budget request for fiscal 2009 that would require congressional approval.

    Administration officials said the $770 million would include $395 million in emergency food aid, $225 million for food vouchers, seeds, or aid purchases in the developing world, and $150 million for development work aimed at food security.

    That will help "improve the ability of the developing world to feed itself," said Stephen McMillin, a top budget official.

    If approved by Congress, the funds would become available on October 1, and would bring overall support for global food security to $2.66 billion for 2009

    The announcement comes several weeks after Bush approved the release of 250,000 metric tons of wheat from an emergency crop trust, a step the United States had not taken since 2005.

    It reflects the mounting concern among world leaders about protests, strikes and riots that have erupted in the wake of dramatically higher prices, which affect the poor the most.

    "The next few weeks are critical for addressing the food crisis. For 2 billion people, high food prices are now a matter of daily struggle, sacrifice, and ... even survival," World Bank President Robert Zoellick said this week.

     

    Photo: AFP

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