The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, has announced funding of almost €22 million in development aid for two United Nations food bodies.

Creed confirmed on Christmas Eve that €21.87 million would be split between the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), with Ireland making an advance payment of €19 million to the WFP as part of a three-year “strategic partnership”.

This funding will afford WFP the flexibility to target this funding in the most strategic, efficient and planned manner. It will provide life-saving assistance to communities facing food insecurity in countries such as Yemen, Syria and South Sudan.

The WFP said it was “deeply grateful” to Ireland for helping the group “save lives in emergencies and change lives of people who are the furthest behind”.

“Ireland’s latest contribution will help us tackle the multiple humanitarian crises we face,” said David Beasley, executive director of the WFP.

The remaining €2.87 million will go towards food security and livelihood resilience projects organised by the FAO, which will target farmers in ‘crisis regions’, such as Cameroon, Chad, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Dominique Burgeon, director of the Emergency and Rehabilitation Division of the FAO, said Ireland is a “critical partner” of his organisation.

Animal and plant pests and diseases are a huge threat to lives and livelihoods across the world. Ireland is a critical partner in enabling FAO to support vulnerable communities in preparing for, diagnosing and responding to these threats from fall armyworm and Rift Valley fever.

Speaking on the Government’s funding, Minister Creed concluded by saying:

“Support for these FAO projects reflects Ireland’s international commitment to improving food security and nutrition, protecting plant and animal health, and action on climate change.”