Bono urges support for African farmers

NEW YORK The Irish rock stars-turned-activists sat by EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso as he presented a new plan to utilize the nearly $1.5 billion that Europe has set aside for its farmer subsidies and give it as aid to African farmers, helping buy fertilizer and seeds.

"These African farmers who are just scratching in the dirt, with no fertilizer, with no seeds to plant are in a chronic state while European farmers, who of course, have solidarity with African farmers, know that there's surplus that's there for them when the bottom falls out of the European market," Bono, U2 frontman and outspoken advocate of aid for Africa, told reporters at a news conference.

"They're not going to need that this year. So we believe that the European farmers like this idea," he said.

Bono said there are 935 million people around the world who are chronically malnourished, with 75 million of them just added this year.

"We don't need to spend 1 billion (euros), so perhaps for once, just once the world morally adjusts itself that the victims of this economic inequity will benefit," Geldof said. "Some countries are holding this up unbelievably."

The duo wouldn't name the countries that aren't willing to part with subsidies, but added that those names will most likely come up over this week.

Bono warned, "This is the planting season ... so we have to act fast."

Bono and Geldof will be around the United Nations this week, helping promote and present the proposal with Barroso. Bono also will be meeting with politicians to discuss his ONE anti-poverty campaign.

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