Actor Idris Elba seeks money for rural farmers impacted by virus

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Paris (AFP)

British actor and filmmaker Idris Elba, who has himself tested positive for COVID-19, helped kick off an appeal for a UN relief fund to help rural communities stricken by the coronavirus pandemic.

With $40 million in UN seed money, a special fund to help small-scale farmers is seeking another $200 million in donations so the coronavirus lockdown doesn't spark a hunger crisis.

The fund "needs more assistance to carry on the work that is desperately needed to keep food systems operating in rural areas if we are to come out of this crisis together and avoid needless hunger and suffering," said Elba in a statement.

Elba is a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations’ International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

The Wire actor disclosed last month that he had tested positive for coronavirus and had quarantined himself.

IFAD's head said developing countries are already particularly vulnerable to this pandemic as a health crisis.

"Unless we act now and act quickly, this will also become a major food and hunger crisis," said Gilbert Houngbo.