International Contributions Drop for Food Supply Projects
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Worldwide contributions are dropping for projects to increase food supplies at a time when the need for more food is growing fast, international officials said Friday.
About 40 governments, international organizations and private donors have pledged $255 million for the basic work next year of 16 centers on rice, wheat, corn, cassava, beans and other products. The figure emerged from pledges received at a week of closed-door meetings, said Alexander van der Osten, executive secretary of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).
″Last year it was $257 million,″ he told reporters.
″In real terms, when you take inflation into account, this is the third decrease in three years.″
Von der Osten said the largest contribution will come from the United States: $43 million, up $1 million from this year.
He added that changes in exchange rates had a lot to do with the decrease in the total. Many countries make their donations in their own currency. The dollar has been rising in value, so that total tends to be lower when translated into dollars.
The reduction in contributions comes at a time when the council is working on adding two centers - one to deal with forestry and another with aquiculture, the raising of fish and plants in controlled ponds.
Alexander McCalla, chairman of the group’s technical advisory committee, said the problem is how to double food production over the next 40 years to take care of the world’s rapidly growing population, especially in Asia and Africa.