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World Food Programme head urges business to help reduce hunger

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The head of the World Food Programme told a Minneapolis audience Friday that feeding the hungry is crucial to fighting terrorism, avoiding wars and helping people stay in their home countries.

Programme executive director David Beasley delivered his remarks to the Economic Club of Minnesota. He said the U.N. food program enjoys broad bipartisan support in Washington, D.C., uniting the Trump administration and Republicans and Democrats.

"The United States' support and commitment in the food security sector is as strong as it has ever been and I don't see it waning at all," he said.

Beasley, a former Republican governor of South Carolina, said the U.S. has increased its annual contribution to the Programme by about a third to $2.5 billion annually.

He said fewer people around the world are going hungry. But more people are suffering from severe hunger because they live in war zones.

Beasley said the private sector needs to step up efforts to help feed the starving. He said that businesses are critical to finding long-term solutions to hunger. That means enabling people to feed themselves. Afterward, he expanded on that thought in an interview.

"I'm less concerned about getting money from Land O' Lakes, Cargill and General Mills than I am about getting their strategic engagement with us to be more efficient, more effective, (get) better yields, productivity and governance in many of these countries," he said.