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July 07, 2008

Unused EU farm subsidies to benefit African farmers

The European Union will channel 1 billion euros in unused European farm subsidies to African farmers as part of its response to the global food crisis, the head of the EU executive has said.

"The EU really can give a boost to agriculture in developing countries," European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso told reporters on the first day of a meeting of G8 rich nations' leaders in northern Japan, where soaring food prices are high on the agenda.

The EU executive has previously outlined its intention of taking up to 1 billion euros of unspent EU farm subsidies between now and the end of 2009 and using the money for seed and fertiliser and other agriculture projects in Africa.

The proposal will have to be approved by ministers from the EU's 27 countries and the European Parliament.

Europe's Common Agricultural Policy eats up more than 40 billion euros a year in subsidies and other farm spending.

The World Bank has estimated that about $10 billion is needed in short-term aid to help poor countries face the global food and fuel price crisis.


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