April 30, 2008
OTTAWA—The Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, and the Honourable Christian Paradis, Secretary of State (Agriculture) today announced that Canada is allocating $230 million in support of food aid programming this fiscal year, a $50 million increase over last year. In addition, the Government of Canada is fully untying restrictions on where food can be purchased.
"With today's announcement of an additional $50 million and the untying of our food aid, Canada is responding to the terrible impact that rising food costs are having on the world's most vulnerable people," said Minister Oda. "Our government is acting in an effective and meaningful way with a 28 percent increase in food aid funding, and ensuring that our contribution will make it into the hands of those who need it most."
"Canadians can be proud of this Government's record on providing food to those who so desperately need our help," said Secretary of State Paradis. "As the second largest donor to the World Food Programme so far this year, Canada's response to the appeal will help address the global food shortage at this critical time."
Canada's contribution includes $5 million to the Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB) bringing Canada's contribution to $25 million this year. This funding will be used to purchase and distribute food to help those in greatest need around the world.
In response to the current and acute food shortage in Haiti, Canada's aid package also includes a special contribution of $10 million to Haiti through the WFP that will provide food to over 350,000 Haitians, primarily vulnerable groups such as pregnant women and children under five years old.
Canada is maximizing the effectiveness of its contribution by untying restrictions on food aid. This will provide the WFP and the CFGB with the flexibility to procure food commodities from all countries—especially developing countries. By removing these restrictions, Canada is also promoting the growth of local and regional markets in developing countries.
"This generous contribution by Canada will help protect millions of children from severe malnutrition and hunger," said WFP Executive Director, Josette Sheeran. "With millions of people now being driven deeper into hunger, we are working intensely with world leaders and global institutions to address the most critical and immediate hunger needs, while building a broad spectrum of longer-term solutions. Canada's role in this process is critical."
She added that rising fuel and food prices alone increased WFP's 2008 budget by an additional $770 million (US$755 million). She said WFP was grateful to Canada for its cash contributions that allow for flexibility to buy the right food at the best price in areas closest to the hungry—a further demonstration of the government's strong commitment to helping the most vulnerable.
"Canada's increased funding for food aid is welcome news for the many millions who are suffering from hunger," said Jim Cornelius, Executive Director of the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, who participated in the announcement. "It will help to maintain critical feeding programs. The further untying of Canada's food aid will also enable us to address hunger more effectively."
Canada's food aid contribution complements existing food security programs that help to improve agricultural productivity in developing countries.
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Office of the Minister of International Cooperation
Media Relations Office
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
April 30, 2008
The Government of Canada's $230 million commitment in support of food aid programming for 2008-2009 represents a $50 million increase in food aid funding over last year. In addition, the Government of Canada is fully untying restrictions on where food can be purchased.
Rising food prices are having an immediate impact on the food security of the world's most vulnerable people. Canada's contribution responds to the World Food Programme's recent emergency appeal to the donor community for additional funding to cover the increased costs of providing food aid worldwide in 2008.
Through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Canada provides food aid primarily through the United Nations' World Food Programme (WFP) and the Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB). Canada's $230 million commitment includes $5 million to the Canadian Foodgrains Bank and $10 million to Haiti through the WFP that will provide food to over 350,000 Haitians, primarily vulnerable groups such as pregnant women and children under five years old.
Untying food aid will provide the WFP and the CFGB with more flexibility to procure food commodities. By removing these restrictions, Canada is also promoting the growth of local and regional markets in developing countries.
The WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency. In 2008, WFP plans to feed more than 70 million people in approximately 80 countries. Canada is currently the second largest country donor to the World Food Programme.
The CFGB is Canada's primary non-governmental food aid partner. It helps provide development assistance and food aid (cash, grain, and other agricultural commodities) to people in need on behalf of 15 Canadian church-based member agencies. The Government of Canada and the CFGB have been feeding hungry people and saving lives around the world for twenty years. Over this period, CFGB has helped provide over 1 million metric tonnes of food in 74 countries during the last 25 years.
The Government of Canada has changed its food aid policy to remove restrictions on sourcing food aid allowing for greater flexibility in where Canada's food aid can be purchased. Canada will increase the untying of its food aid from 50% to 100% this year, which will open up to 100% of its food aid budget to international procurement with a special emphasis on purchasing food in developing countries. Purchases from developed countries will be limited to countries with similar policies on untying food aid. By untying restrictions on where food is purchased, Canada is promoting the development of local and regional markets and more importantly, increasing the speed, effectiveness, and efficiency of Canadian food aid.
Canada's food aid commitment for 2008-2009 will be distributed throughout the year based on specific needs assessments made by the WFP and the CFGB. Approximately 75 percent will be directed to Africa and will contribute to Canada's efforts to meet its commitment to double its aid to Africa in 2008-2009.
Canada's food aid contribution complements existing food security programs that help improve agricultural productivity in developing countries. Canada's existing food security programming is ongoing in countries such as Haiti and Ethiopia.
Canada, in collaboration with the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), is providing a separate $5.3 million to a food security initiative in Haiti to address the current food crisis and to invest in a longer-term solution to this chronic situation. This joint Canada-Argentina Pro Huerta initiative will help to increase food security and autonomy of poor families by training community leaders and helping Haitians to develop communal gardens and apply agricultural inputs.
In order to address the immediate needs of children in Haiti, Canada is accelerating the remaining $5 million payment, out of its $10 million contribution, to the World Food Programme's school-feeding initiative. Minister Oda announced this initiative in February 2008.