British actor and filmmaker Idris Elba launched a new United Nations fund on Monday to help farmers in poorer nations, calling on richer economies to provide aid to prevent “needless hunger and suffering” stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.
Elba and his wife, model and activist Sabrina Dhowre Elba, gave their support to a fund set up by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), to help stop economic shocks caused by COVID-19 triggering a global food crisis.
The couple, who were also designated on Monday as goodwill ambassadors for IFAD, contracted the virus themselves in March although reportedly only suffered mild symptoms.
“The world’s advanced economies are in the midst of this pandemic right now and, of course, they must do everything they can to help their own people,” said Elba, 47, in a statement.
“But the fact is, global action is also a matter of self-interest. As long as the pandemic is still raging anywhere, it will pose a threat everywhere,” he added, urging donors to ramp up financial support to keep rural food systems operating.
IFAD, a U.N. agency that promotes rural development, said it would put $40 million into the new fund to counter the effects of the pandemic on food production, market access and employment in developing countries.