China emerges as world’s third largest food aid donor, UN agency says

20 July 2006

In the same year it stopped receiving food aid from the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), China emerged as the world’s third largest food aid donor in 2005, according to the latest annual Food Aid Monitor from INTERFAIS, the International Food Aid Information System, the agency said today.

In the same year it stopped receiving food aid from the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), China emerged as the world’s third largest food aid donor in 2005, according to the latest annual Food Aid Monitor from INTERFAIS, the International Food Aid Information System, the agency said today.

Global food aid grew by 10 per cent to 8.2 million metric tons in 2005, a slight upturn in an overall declining trend, according to the INTERFAIS database, which is hosted by WFP to track all donations of food aid, not just those handled by the agency.

“Donations of food made the difference between life and death after the tsunami, the Pakistan earthquake and in Sudan, so we are extraordinarily grateful to all who gave last year,” said James Morris, Executive Director of WFP, which delivered 54 per cent of the world's food aid last year, reaching some 97 million people.

“Sadly, there is still not enough to meet the most basic needs of millions of individuals. When Official Development Assistance (ODA) is at its highest level in history, it is hard to understand why there still is not enough food aid to feed everyone who needs it. The number of hungry is rising by more than 4 million people a year in the developing world, even though poverty is declining. We need a ‘food-first’ policy,” added Mr. Morris.

China accounted for more than half of the rise in overall food aid donations in 2005, with a 260 per cent increase compared to the previous year. Donations from China were mostly directed to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), with small quantities donated to a dozen other countries.

Canada increased its donations by 42 per cent. Other relatively new donors, such as the Czech Republic, Greece, Poland, doubled or even tripled their support from 2004 to 2005, the report said. Donations from non-governmental organizations, such as the American Red Cross, increased by 64 per cent.

The United States remained the world’s most generous food aid donor, providing 4 million tons, or 49 percent of all donations. Overall donations from the European Union totalled 1.5 million tons, WFP said, citing the report.

 

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