CARE, a leading international aid organization fighting poverty, praises the Obama Administration?s $20 billion food initiative for targeting world hunger by recognizing the needs of women.

The plan, adopted by G8 leaders at their recent summit in L?Aquila, Italy, aims to provide poor farmers in developing countries with seeds, fertilizers, infrastructure and other tools to help them boost local food production, a shift from previous policy that emphasized sending food aid from abroad.

At a post-G8 press conference on 10 July, President Obama said the summit leaders did not view the assistance as an end in itself.  ?We believe that the purpose of aid must be to create the conditions where it?s no longer needed ? to help people become self-sufficient, provide for their families and lift their standards of living,? the president said.

"I think the $20 billion investment is going to be a wonderful start,? said Dan Mullins, a CARE spokesman based in Johannesburg, South Africa. ?We just need to make sure that the money is used in ways that will ensure that the assistance reaches the poorest of the poor, who usually are women and girls."

CARE says helping women is the key to helping Africa?s poorest families. ?Women do the bulk of the agricultural production in most of Africa,? Mullins said.

?We need to make sure that the investment is developed in ways that are appropriate to women's needs and to their ability to make use of that investment."

Mullins called the G8?s focus on long-term investment in sustainable agriculture in developing nations a ?great beginning.? But he cautions the initiative alone will not solve the problem of widespread hunger. ?There has been disinvestment in agriculture, globally, for the last 25 years or so. It?s not something that is going to be turned around with a two-year package.?