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Food aid: calling for quality, not just quantity

Food aid: calling for quality, not just quantity
16/10/2013  - 

Today is World Food Day: the occasion to check our progress on improving humanitarian food assistance, agriculture and nutrition security, as well as to consider what more we can do.

I never get over the sight of people who don't have enough food for themselves and their families. Nothing is more shocking than the sight of children so malnourished that they are too weak even to cry. To help the victims of hunger and malnutrition, the European Commission invests a substantial part of its humanitarian funding in food aid. In 2012, we gave EUR 515 million to this priority. Since 2010, the EU has directly supported more than a hundred million people facing acute food insecurity.

We pay special attention to children in the EU's humanitarian and development policies. We provide acutely undernourished babies and their mothers with emergency assistance. We are also helping partner countries to reduce the number of children who are stunted by at least 7 million by 2025 - children whose growth and development have been compromised because they lack proper food and medical care.

The quality of food assistance matters as much as its quality: it's unacceptable that more than 3 million children still die each year from not getting enough of the nutrients they need to develop. Even when a child survives, under-nourishment damages his or her mental and physical development.

That's why we are working in broad partnership with others who try to end this unacceptable situation. Important progress has been made with the new Food Assistance Convention, which entered into force in January this year. It commits signatories to a more efficient and effective response to food and nutrition insecurity. There's also the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement , where more than 40 developing countries, together with donors, civil society, the private sector and UN organisations, are now joining forces.