The European Commission has backed a plan to donate 1 billion euros to farmers in Africa next year to help combat high food prices and stimulate production. The money has been avaliable from unspent funds from the bloc’s massive agriculture budget.
A number of member states have questioned the legality of the move but not the merit of the idea. The cash will be channelled to developing countries through international or regional organisations, such as the United Nations and the World Food Programme.
The financial support will go towards improving access to fertilisers and seeds and ways to improve agricultural capacity and output. The difficulty will be in setting the eligibility criteria for recipient countries and how much of the pie will be allocated to each. The move has been welcomed by aid groups as a way to help African smallholders fightback against hunger and poverty.