Austria Increases Contribution to World Food Program to 60 Million Euros

PeoplePoliticians ♦ Published: October 16, 2022; 23:10 ♦ (Vindobona)

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has brought the issue of food supply into global focus. Therefore, the Austrian Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry budget will be increased to 20 million euros annually from 2023-2025. A strategic partnership between Austria and the World Food Programme (WFP) is also in the works.

Austria wants to strive for more food security in the world. / Picture: © Wikimedia Commons /Africa Food Security 3 /Kate Holt/AusAID / CC BY 2.0

A recent UN report shows that the number of people suffering from hunger worldwide is at a record high. Around 345 million people are affected by acute food insecurity, of which around 50 million people in 45 countries are on the brink of famine. On World Food Day, Federal Chancellor Karl Nehammer, Agriculture Minister Norbert Totschnig and Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg emphasized that Austria will continue to contribute to alleviating the humanitarian situation.

According to Agriculture Minister Norbert Totschnig, it is a major concern of the Federal Government to provide food aid where it is needed and to ensure stability in the longer term. The World Food Program is a close and globally networked partner in this regard. The Minister of Agriculture explained, "More funds have been earmarked for this in my departmental budget in the future, and we will make a total of 60 million euros available in the period 2023-2025. Nutrition is a global security issue. That makes it all the more important that we continue to make our contribution."

The budget even provides more funds for this purpose. In particular, the urgently needed funds for food aid will be increased. So far, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Regions and Water Management provides around 1.6 million euros per year as part of international food aid. This will be increased to 20 million euros per year for the years 2023-2025 - i.e. to a total of 60 million euros.

Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg elaborated that the Russian war in Ukraine has "triggered a food crisis in many countries, especially in Africa and the Middle East." According to Schallenberg, Putin, "with incredible cynicism, is deliberately using food as a weapon." According to Austria's foreign minister, Putin is driving up prices for staple foods and thus driving people into poverty by blockading ports and destroying grain silos. According to Schallenberg, Austria is taking strong countermeasures and providing aid on the ground. "The World Food Program is a central partner for this," Schallenberg said.

Austria has been cooperating with the World Food Program for years and makes financial contributions to international food aid. By further increasing Austria's contribution to the World Food Programme within the framework of a strategic partnership, the Austrian Federal Government is making a significant contribution to global food security, sending a positive signal to the international community and strengthening its UN position at the same time.

Chancellor Karl Nehammer explained that millions of people around the world depend on aid from the UN World Food Program and that Austria has been supporting the WFP for many years. This commitment has become an important partner in the sense of its humanitarian tradition, according to Chancellor Nehammer.

Already last year, the federal government significantly increased the funds for food aid. Given the current worsening crises, we are increasing the funds in the budget once again and are now providing 20 million euros annually. Chancellor Nehammer says, "Only with the combined forces of the international community can we succeed in effectively combating hunger in the world."

The agreement is to be finalized and presented by the end of the year. Domestically, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will work together in close coordination on cooperation.

BML Austrian Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry