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Minister for Trade and Development Joe Costello urges businesses to tackle global hunger

Minister for Trade and Development Joe Costello today urged businesses to join the international movement to tackle under-nutrition among  mothers and children under the age of two. 

Minister Costello said the private sector has a vital role to play in ensuring that poor people can access the right food at the right price.  He was launching a dedicated business network as part of the Scaling up Nutition (SUN) movement in London this morning. The SUN movement brings together Governments, donors, the private sector, NGOs and others to reduce maternal and child under-nutrition. 

In addition to food and drinks businesses, the network hopes to harness private sector potential in areas such as logistics, communications, finance and research. 

Minister Costello said:

“As Minister for Trade and Development, I am very committed to harnessing the potential of business communities to improve nutrition.  Poor people need to have access to affordable, nutritious food. Local farmers, distributors and retailers are central to achieving this, as are international businesses. Providing access for the poor to the right food they need at the right price is the responsibility of us all.

“I know that some Irish companies are applying their research and development expertise to help meet the nutritional needs of poor people in developing countries.  I hope we can work together to increase the number of businesses which are addressing these needs in an ethical and sustainable manner. As a Business Network, you have enormous potential as you are central to every step in the food and health chain at local and global levels.”

Minister Costello also said that tackling hunger and reducing poor people’s vulnerability to natural and man-made crises would be among Ireland’s priorities during our upcoming Presidency of the EU.  Some 870 million people suffer from hunger, while it is estimated that one-third of global food production is wasted.

“Tackling hunger and under-nutrition is a cornerstone of Ireland’s development programme.  A fifth of our Irish Aid budget is dedicated to addressing hunger and I am committed to working with the international community in the months and years ahead to progress this critical work, which has implications for all aspects of development.”

While in London, the Minister also visited the Cricklewood Homeless Concern, an Irish community resource centre that offers welfare services to homeless people and those in insecure housing. The Minister took a tour of the centre and met with centre users, workers and volunteers.

"I am very impressed by the level of service that is on offer in the centre and was struck by the great sense of camaraderie between staff and the Irish people and other nationalities who use the centre"