The UN World Food Programme’s (WFP) chief has recognised Ireland’s contribution to global nutrition through beef and dairy farming.

Beef and dairy output is an important source of nutrition, the executive director of the WFP Cindy McCain told RTÉ Radio 1 on Thursday.

McCain stated that although the WFP doesn’t deal with animal products, “Ireland has always been fantastic about beef and dairy and that is a very important aspect of nutrition, so we are very pleased with what Ireland does”.

The food aid official’s comments came ahead of a meeting planned with chair of the joint Oireachtas committee on agriculture Jackie Cahill TD, who has raised concerns over the potential impact of Irish and EU environmental regulations on food security.


Some 345m people are facing high levels of food insecurity, more than double the levels reported by the WFP in 2020.

“It’s really a combination of things. It’s climate change, it’s COVID. Conflict is a huge part of it, especially when we’re talking about Africa and of course Ukraine. And the cost of food in general is a huge part of this,” she said.

Funding stretched

“Donor fatigue” hitting the WFP’s funding streams has seen the programme having to reduce or completely eliminate food rations in parts of Africa and the Middle East, McCain said.

“We have had to cut, in some cases, the amount of rations so they are still getting some aid, but they are not getting the quantity they should be getting; in other places, we have had to take them off the rolls.

“The world needs everybody in this and Ireland has been very generous to WFP, especially in some of the funds being flexible funds. That means it is left to our discretion to where it goes.”