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FFP lauds Taiwan's foreign aid programs in allies

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A visiting charity organization lauded Taiwan's efforts in the aid programs in collaboration with it in the Central American and Caribbean countries that have diplomatic ties with Taiwan, which have proven“very effective.”

Describing Taiwan as a“tremendous country, ”Food For the Poor (FFP) President Robin Mahfood said that Taiwan not only offers practical expertise in fields such as agriculture and animal husbandry, but understands the nature of needed people in those countries.

To date, FFP and Taiwan's International Cooperation and Development Fund (ICDF) , an implementation arm of the government's foreign aid schemes, have launched joint programs in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, all of which are Taiwan's diplomatic allies, according to ICDF.

FFP Executive Director Angel Aloma said that the largest area of collaboration between FFP and ICDF is tilapia breeding in some of the countries, which has enabled the local children to obtain sufficient protein from the fish and avoid the common fate of malnutrition.

Also, he said ICDF's initiatives such as the guava and papaya cultivation programs in Nicaragua have succeeded in motivating the locals to become devoted and made them realize that the schemes could serve as a step away from poverty for them that would last a lifetime.

In terms of the aid works in Haiti, Aloma said Taiwan's aid packages of rice and technology were a“perfect composite, ”as rice is regarded as an immediate urgency there to support the continual of their lives, while technological assistance works for the long term in which local people learn how to help themselves and become independent.

However, as the Taiwan government announced last week that it was planning to reduce the volume of rice aid to Haiti this year due to its own poor harvest in 2008, Mahfood expressed hope that Taiwanese officials would reconsider the move, as the Caribbean country is still suffering from the traumas brought about by last year's series of natural disasters, which left the country's entire crops destroyed and local children starving.

In addition, Mahfood also talked of a potential partnership with Taiwan's companies in the solar energy industry in providing relevant products for use in FFP's aid programs such as solar outdoor lighting for villages without electricity, water pumps as well as water disinfectors.

FFP, founded in 1982, donated items worth US$1.51 billion in 2008 to the Central American and the Caribbean countries and was chosen in the same year by“The Chronicle of Philanthropy”magazine as the U.S. 's largest charity organization.

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