EU Food Facility: A Model for Success?

The establishment of a European Union food facility in May has been a success, European officials said Thursday at the European Development Days in Stockholm.

The facility enables the EU to rapidly respond to emerging food crises. It plans to focus on 50 countries, particularly in Africa, over the course of a 3-year period. Calls for proposals were sent out in May for 200 million euros worth in contracts, and shortlisted organizations are being notified today (Oct. 23) about the EU's evaluation of the full application forms it received. Chosen contractors will be notified Oct. 30 after a final eligibility check.

The food facility's total budget is just under $1 billion euros. Contributions come from the Food and Agriculture Organization, United Nations Relief and Works Agency, UNICEF and the World Food Program. Similar funding arrangements are being planned with the World Bank, International Fund for Agricultural Development, U.N. Development Program and U.N. Office for Project Services.

The initiative is part of a renewed push to collaborate on food access issues, from experts at the U.N. High-Level Taskforce on the Global Food Crisis to those working with the African Union. The goal, according to the European Commission, is to "encourage food producers to increase supply," lower food prices, and improve agricultural growth in the 50 target countries.

The food facility is also providing assistance to countries such as Myanmar, Cuba and Honduras. Because of its apparent success thus far, a similar approach could be used to boost the development of fragile states, EU officials indicated in Stockholm.

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