Bank Group and FAO Discuss Rising Food Prices

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FAO’s Assistant Representative in Uganda, Charles Owach, on June 13, 2008, held a meeting with officials of the Bank Group’s field office in Uganda to exchanges ideas on rising food prices in the country. Mr. Owach briefed officials of the field office on the outcomes of the food summit that took place at the FAO headquarters in Rome, noting that the summit adopted a declaration calling on the international community to increase assistance to developing countries, especially those severely affected by the current food crisis. The FAO assistant representative noted that most of the resources pledged at the summit would be raised through the reprogramming of existing programmes and projects to be able to focus more on interventions that help to speed up agricultural production in the short run. He requested information from UGFO on some of the Bank’s operations in Uganda that could be used for the reprogramming process.

UGFO Resident Representative, Mukaila Ojelade, welcomed the FAO Assistant Representative and briefed him on the status of ongoing agricultural projects, noting that their performance had significantly improved over the last two years and that none of them would be used for reprogramming. Mr. Ojelade also informed the FAO Representative that Bank Group agricultural projects in Uganda were aimed at establishing mechanisms and infrastructure for increased agricultural production in the medium-to-long term, and therefore contribute to food security processes in Uganda. He also informed his FAO counterpart that the Bank Group had pledged to increase its agricultural portfolio by US$ 1 billion as a strategy to help its regional member countries cope with escalating food crisis. He noted that the priority would be to support the most affected countries, especially West African countries. Participants agreed to continue to working together in order to support Uganda’s food security initiatives. Rising food prices in Uganda have been mainly the result of increasing fuel prices and, therefore, increased transportation costs, and increasing demand for food commodities in the region – especially in Southern Sudan, Kenya , Rwanda and Eastern DRC. The meeting was also attended by UGFO’s Agriculture and Rural Development Specialist, Asaph Nuwagira.

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