Actor Idris Elba Launches UN CCP Virus Fund for Poor Farmers

By Reuters
April 20, 2020Entertainmentshare
Actor Idris Elba Launches UN CCP Virus Fund for Poor Farmers
Enlgish actor Idris Elba (R) and wife Sabrina Dhowre Elba arrive for the world premiere of "Cats" at the Alice Tully Hall in New York City, on Dec. 16, 2019. (Angela Weiss /AFP via Getty Images)

British actor and filmmaker Idris Elba launched a new United Nations fund on April 20 to help farmers in poorer nations, calling on richer economies to provide aid to prevent “needless hunger and suffering” stemming from the CCP virus pandemic.

Elba and his wife, model and activist Sabrina Dhowre Elba, gave their support to a fund set up by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), to help stop economic shocks caused by COVID-19 triggering a global food crisis.

The couple, who were also designated on Monday as goodwill ambassadors for IFAD, contracted the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus themselves in March although reportedly only suffered mild symptoms.

“The world’s advanced economies are in the midst of this pandemic right now and, of course, they must do everything they can to help their own people,” said Elba, 47, in a statement.

A communal agent measures the body temperature of traders at the opening of Rood Wokos great market in Ouagadougou on April 20, 2020. (Olympia De Maismont/AFP via Getty Images)

“But the fact is, global action is also a matter of self-interest. As long as the pandemic is still raging anywhere, it will pose a threat everywhere,” he added, urging donors to ramp up financial support to keep rural food systems operating.

IFAD, a U.N. agency that promotes rural development, said it would put $40 million into the new fund to counter the effects of the pandemic on food production, market access, and employment in developing countries.

It also aims to raise at least $200 million more from governments, foundations, and the private sector.

In December Elba and his wife visited rural Sierra Leone, where IFAD provided financial services to communities hit by Ebola.

A homeless man gestures as he receives a food parcel during a food distribution by Meals on Wheels in Hillbrow, Johannesburg, South Africa, on April 18, 2020. (Wikus De Wet/AFP via Getty Images)

Since the CCP virus began to spread in developing nations, IFAD has been finding ways to help rural families—many of them poor farmers—deal with the disease’s ripple effects.

In eastern Senegal, where a curfew and market closures make it hard to sell produce or livestock, the agency is supporting cash transfers and subsidies via smartphones, and distributing seeds and fertilisers ahead of the planting season.

In India’s Odisha state, it has worked with local authorities to get watermelons transported to markets, avoiding the loss of 600 tonnes of fruit due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Migrant workers wait on marked areas on the ground to maintain social distancing as they queue to receive food packets at an industrial area during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 virus, in Chennai, India, on April 1, 2020. (Arun Sankar/AFP via Getty Images)

IFAD President Gilbert F. Houngbo, who was raised in rural Togo, West Africa, said farmers were worried about losing their income during the pandemic as lockdown measures in many places could stop them selling crops and buying seeds and fertilisers.

He warned if this happened, progress in the fight against poverty could be upended for the first time in three decades.

“What we are talking about is the risk of a health crisis creating a food crisis,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“(But) I think we have to go even beyond the risk of food insecurity and look at it as we, as a global community, going backwards in the fight against poverty.”

By Megan Rowling

NTD contributed to this report. 

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