April 22, 2013
Parliamentary Secretary Pierre Lemieux highlights Earth Day
Alfred, Ontario — African households will be better able to increase their food production and incomes as they improve their ability to adapt to the impacts of deforestation and the effects of weather on food security and livelihoods. Today, in recognition of Earth Day, Pierre Lemieux, MP for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture, announced an agro-forestry initiative that will improve food production, reduce poverty and help African families adapt to weather-related challenges in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
"Today is an opportunity to support people most in need around the world who face extreme weather-related challenges," said Parliamentary Secretary Lemieux, on behalf of the Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of International Cooperation. "Canada is committed to assisting vulnerable populations in Africa improve their ability to adapt to weather-related risks through the implementation of innovative and effective development measures that will help ensure sustainable access to food and livelihoods."
Following a 2012 call for proposals, the Université de Guelph—Campus d'Alfred was selected to lead a project that aims to reduce poverty and increase food self-sufficiency in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, by increasing the production of renewable charcoal on farms that interplant acacia trees with cassava and corn. Twenty graduates from Kinshasa's Institut des Sciences Agro-vétérinaires, and another 200 households from the surrounding area in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, will be trained in agro-forestry and entrepreneurship. The training, which aims to address the marketing of agricultural products, will help to create more jobs in and around Kinshasa. It will also help to partly respond to the food and energy needs of communities outside the capital city. The Institute's graduates will be offered a parcel of land on which to implement the project's agro-forestry model. This is particularly significant because it will help them generate up to $15,000 each in household income.
"There is no better day than today, Earth Day, to put a spotlight on this successful agro-forestry project that will effectively address climate change issues while ensuring the future of food security and economic growth for the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo," said Axel Alliez, International Projects Manager, Université de Guelph—Campus d'Alfred. "The Université de Guelph—Campus d'Alfred would like to acknowledge and thank the Government of Canada for supporting this important initiative that will make the implementation of an efficient agro-forestry model possible in order to improve crop yields and provide the Kinshasa area population with a renewable charcoal energy source."
In addition to today's announcement, Economic Action Plan (EAP) 2013 also reaffirmed Canada's commitment to poverty reduction and food security. The Harper Government also announced in EAP2013 that the responsibilities of the Minister and the priority of international development and humanitarian assistance will be enshrined, for the first time ever, into law. The new Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development will make Canada's international assistance more focused, effective and aligned with Canada's foreign policy objectives.
For more information on the results of the 2012 call for proposals, please visit CIDA's Canada Fund for African Climate Resilience Partners web page.
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For more information, media should contact:
Daniel Bezalel Richardsen
Press Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation