Increasing food security is one of CIDA's three priority themes, as outlined in Canada's Aid Effectiveness Agenda. The Government of Canada is committed to making Canada's international assistance more effective, more focused, and more accountable. The priority themes are supported by three crosscutting themes.
About 870 million men, women and children around the world face chronic hunger. Lack of access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food is one of the major obstacles to reducing poverty in developing countries.
Canada has a strong record of helping increase global food security through its decision to untie 100 percent of its food assistance budget in 2008 and was one of the first donor countries to increase support during the 2008 food and fuel crises in the developing world. In April 2011, Canada was the first G8 country to fully meet its L'Aquila Summit commitment and disburse $1.18 billion for sustainable agricultural development. Canada chaired the negotiations leading to the new Food Assistance Convention which brought together the leading food assistance donors, and is continuing to play a key role through the Convention in shaping the global response to hunger.
The challenges to food security—including low productivity, high costs, and a lack of modern techniques and technology—are well known. CIDA's Food Security Strategy responds to these challenges and focuses on food assistance and nutrition, sustainable agricultural development, and research and development.
- Encouraging flexible, predictable food security funding by the donor community.
- Promoting the use of social safety nets, food distribution systems, and school feeding programs.
- Working with other countries to implement the Food Assistance Convention.
- Supporting nutrition considerations in broader food security initiatives, including increasing programming to promote life-saving nutrient food supplements such as Vitamin A and salt iodization.
- Supporting and strengthening national and regional food reserves, as well as food crisis alert and prevention systems.
Sustainable Agricultural Development
- More than doubling Canada's investment in sustainable agricultural development.
- Supporting national and regional agriculture strategies.
- Strengthening agricultural and rural development policies and management processes particularly those affecting small rural farmers especially women farmers.
Research and Development
- In 2010-2011, CIDA helped the Micronutrient Initiative provide more than 267 million children with Vitamin A supplements (to prevent blindness and reduce the risk of death from severe infections), ensured that 328 million people had iodized salt (to prevent brain damage in children and miscarriages in pregnant women), distributed 5.6 million zinc tablets to children (to prevent stunted growth and help children combat and recover from diarrhoeal disease) and fortified 39,950 metric tonnes of food with iron (to prevent brain damage in children and increase survival rates for pregnant women)
- In 2009-2010, CIDA helped almost 4 million farming households across Africa—58 percent of which are headed by women—access nutritionally enhanced and drought-resistant bean seed varieties in eleven countries