A senior official of WFP has met with officials of the Government of India, lauding the increasing and important role that India plays in assuring food security for South Asia, and in particular Afghanistan.
Biscuits from India have been instrumental in persuading families to allow their daughters to enroll in schools across Afghanistan
Tony Banbury, WFP’s Asia Regional Director
Tony Banbury, WFP’s Asia Regional Director, is on a one-week mission in India to review WFP operations and discuss with the Government possible areas for enhanced collaboration.
“From being a net recipient in 2000, the Government of India transitioned to become the 15th largest donor to the World Food Programme in 2005,” said Banbury.
“This commitment is further confirmation of India’s increasing importance in confronting global challenges, including hunger, malnutrition and illiteracy, in South Asia and around the world.”
In the last three years, India has made donations through WFP worth approximately US$52 million to assist children in Afghanistan and Iraq to return to schools.
Nearly 2 million children, half of them girls, benefit from this generous Indian contribution.
“Biscuits from India have been instrumental in persuading families to allow their daughters to enroll in schools across Afghanistan,” said Banbury.
“Hundreds of thousands of poor and hungry Afghans have benefited already from India’s tremendous gift.”
Stability and development assistance
Banbury further noted that WFP is playing an increasing role in providing food aid to most vulnerable populations in countries on India’s borders: in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Myanmar.
In each of these countries, food aid supported by international donors can offer stability and development assistance to persons and communities that might otherwise be affected by food insecurity.
“Funding for our food aid programmes in Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, continues to be a challenge,” said Banbury.
“I am very concerned that any reductions in these operations will undermine recovery and foster insecurity in these neighbouring states to India,” he said.
During his mission to India Mr. Banbury travelled to flood-devastated Rajasthan and to Gujarat to visit WFP-supported projects for the rural poor of India.
He noted the benefits of many of these pilot programmes in bringing improvements to the lives of the rural poor: “The achievements of the food-based programmes in India are thanks to remarkable work by the Indian Government.
"The World Food Programme is pleased to work in such close partnership with the Government both in India and beyond its borders to improve the well-being of desperately needy people,” said Banbury.