S. Korea’s agriculture minister calls for active food aid to poor countries
ROME, South Korea's agriculture minister called Thursday for active food aid to poor countries after Seoul made a contribution worth 46 billion won (US$42.5 million) to the U.N. food agency.
The World Food Program said it will use the funds to purchase 50,000 metric tons of South Korean rice for food assistance in Syria, Yemen, Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda in the second half of this year.
"It's time that we should play a role befitting our economic, political and diplomatic status and give back to the international community (for the aid we received)," Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Kim Yong-rok said in an interview with Yonhap News Agency in Rome.
Kim highlighted South Korea's dramatic transformation from recipient of U.N. aid to donor country in half a century.
"This is what we dream of," WFP Executive Director David Beasley said. "A country that used to rely on WFP now stands as one of our strongest allies in saving lives -- it's an exceptional example of what we all strive for at the World Food Program."
Beasley made the comments on Wednesday as he and Kim signed the contribution arrangement on the sidelines of the WFP Executive Board session in Rome.
Kim also told Yonhap that South Korea needs to increase its assistance to developing countries, if possible, as exports account for a large share of its economy.
On Wednesday, Kim confirmed that South Korea planned to "participate more proactively in efforts by the international community to combat hunger," according to the WFP.
Source: Yonhap News Agency