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Austria highlights support for African farmers on World Food Day

Updated: 2013-10-17 09:45:57

To mark World Food Day on Wednesday, Austrian State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Reinhold Lopatka highlighted the Austrian Development Cooperation's (ADC) fight against hunger in Africa.

As part of its efforts, the ADC works to support African farmers to improve food security, such as in Semien Gondar in north Ethiopia, where more than 14 million euros (18.9 million U.S. dollaras) have been provided to improve the living conditions of more than 500,000 small farmers, Lopatka said.

Food shortages in the region have been caused by population growth, depleted soils, and overgrazed areas. The ADC has assisted in teaching farmers adapted cultivation methods including the use of more resistant crop varieties and improved animal husbandry, the state secretary added.

Through improved storage methods, farmers can also more easily store surplus crops through which later crop failures or droughts can be more easily overcome, and the additional income allows them to better finance the schooling of their children.

Lopatka said in a foreign ministry press release, the food security situation in the area has improved enormously through the implemented measures, and had reduced reliance on external relief.

Despite the positive news, he also added that one in eight people worldwide has too little available food, and while the number of hungry had decreased in most regions, it had increased in sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa, and West Asia.

Through sustainable resource management, Austria is "trying to combat this development as effectively as possible," he said.

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