By FWi staff

FOOD aid from richer to poorer countries will no longer be restricted to cereals and oilseeds.

Following a new agreement, edible oil, skimmed milk powder, sugar, seeds and products making up traditional local diets or food supplements can be included, too, from July this year.

The Food Aid Committee – which includes Argentina, Australia, Canada, the EU and its member states, Japan, Norway, Switzerland, and the USA – has agreed a new Food Aid Convention (FAC)

Subject to the necessary actions by member Governments, the new FAC will come into effect on 1 July 1999. It will have an initial three-year duration, to be reviewed after that time.

The objective of the new body is to contribute to world food security and to improve the ability of the international community to respond to emergency food situations and other food needs of developing countries.

FAC members will make food aid available to developing countries with the greatest needs on a predictable basis, irrespective of fluctuations in world food prices and supplies.

Particular importance is attached to ensuring that food aid is directed to the alleviation of poverty and hunger of the most vulnerable groups.

When allocating their food aid, FAC members will give priority to least developed countries and low-income countries, many of which are on the WTO list of net food-importing developing countries.