Nobel Peace Prize Win Will Further Strengthen Cooperation With India: World Food Programme

New Delhi, Oct 9 (PTI): The UN’s World Food Programme which won the Nobel Peace prize on Friday said it hopes that this recognition will further strengthen its cooperation with India where it has been working for around five decades in various programmes related to food and nutrition security.

The World Food Programme (WFP) was honoured for its efforts to combat hunger, for its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict.

The Rome-based organisation has been feeding people in some of the world’s most dangerous places, with the coronavirus pandemic seen pushing millions more into hunger.

Speaking to PTI, WFP country director Bishow Parajuli said winning the Nobel prize is a “great recognition” not only to WFP but also to governments across the world, including in India.

“Food insecurity breeds many problems and therefore addressing that is an important element,” he said.

He said the recognition will further strengthen WFP’s cooperation with India where it has been working for around five decades in various programmes related to food and nutrition security.

“The Indian government has always been appreciative of our work and we hope it will further value us with this recognition,” Mr Parajuli said.

Elaborating on the WFP’s work in India, he said in the last 10 years or so the organisation has shifted its focus in four areas in particular – one is nutrition where India still faces a challenge.

“For example, we have a programme at community level with self help groups in Uttar Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh State Rural Livelihoods Mission,” he said.

“We have a programme on improving social behaviours. We have a programme supporting fortification of rice and then also improving the quality of take home ration. Our purpose is always to support the government and we work in partnership with the government,” he said.

Mr Parajuli said they are also working towards providing targetted safety net programme like ICDS and mid-day programmes.

“We are also working for improving efficiency of supply chain optimisation and then we have been working in bringing biometric system with government and we had a special programme during COVID working with the empowered groups supporting looking into food security, vulnerability and bottlenecks and challenges so that is the third component of our work – looking at evidence and results what is happening on the ground and how situation can be improved,” he said.

Noting that India has many success stories to share with the world, Mr Parajuli said the WFP is also bringing exchanges of India with other neighbouring countries like Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh.

“India has lots of good examples of success stories so we bring an exchange between excellent states and not so excellent states. We are also expanding our knowledge base to other countries in regions like Nepal and Bangladesh like there was an exchange with Nepal on the mid-day meal programme that India. We had officials from Bhutan and we are seeing how we can further strengthen cooperation in this front,” he said.

“Post COVID, the food situation has deteriorated across the world and also vulnerabilities among migrant workers and labourers have increased so how do we improve access to ration cards and improve the situation at optimum level,” he added.