Government of Canada

Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

www.international.gc.ca

Harper Government partners with Western University to increase food security in Malawi

March 11, 2013

London, Ontario—Smallholder farmers in Africa will learn sustainable farming practices and improve the health and nutrition of their families thanks to a partnership between the Government of Canada and Western University. Today, Member of Parliament Susan Truppe, on behalf of the Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of International Cooperation, announced Canada's support for a farmer-to-farmer agro-ecology project in Malawi.

"The Harper Government is committed to providing increased food security to those most in need as part of Canada's effective international assistance. Through this partnership with Western University, Canadians can take pride in knowing that farmers in Malawi will improve the availability and nutrition of the food they provide for their families," said MP Truppe. "By tapping into the expertise of Western University, Canada will help improve food security, nutrition and livelihoods of farm families in Malawi."

This investment will help Western University work with its local partners to strengthen the farming practices of more than 30,000 smallholder farmers in Malawi. Through the project's unique focus on farmer-to-farmer education, 6,000 farming households will learn agro-ecological farming methods and will be provided with technical support in food production and cooperative development. In addition, 200 youth will receive training in operating small businesses.

"Western University thanks the Government of Canada for supporting this project that builds on over a decade of research by Canadian and Malawian researchers, documenting strong evidence that farmer experimentation and farmer-to-farmer teaching can improve child nutrition, food availability, and land quality," said Rachel Bezner Kerr, Adjunct Professor in the Department of Development Sociology at Cornell University. "We are thrilled to extend our farmer-led, sustainable efforts to improve the lives of poor families in Malawi."

The Harper Government remains committed to making our foreign assistance more effective, so that Canadians are, in turn, able to make a greater difference in the lives of those who count on—and benefit from—Canada's help.

The Western University project will be funded through CIDA's Partners for Development Program for $2.5 million.

For more information, please visit CIDA's University Partners page.

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For more information, media should contact:

Daniel Bezalel Richardsen
Press Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation
Telephone: 819-953-6238
Email: danielbezalel.richardsen@acdi-cida.gc.ca

Media Relations Office
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
Telephone: 819-953-6534
Email: media@acdi-cida.gc.ca
Follow us on Twitter: @CIDA_CA


Backgrounder

CIDA's Partners for Development Program aims to leverage the development expertise and initiative of Canadians by funding the most meritorious proposals put forward by Canadian organizations to deliver development results on the ground. Following a 2011 call for proposals, the Government of Canada is partnering with Canadian universities to implement targeted development projects around the world for up to five years.

These selected Canadian universities will work with institutions and organizations in developing countries to ensure that the results will directly benefit people in need. Their projects will stimulate sustainable economic growth, secure the future of children and youth, increase food security, and improve the health of mothers, newborns and children.

Below is the successful project that was announced today as a result of this call for proposals.

Western University

Farmer-to-farmer agro-ecology in Malawi

Local Partners: University of Malawi Chancellor College, Ekwendeni Hospital

This project will strengthen the farming practices of more than 30,000 smallholder farmers in organic farming. It will:

  • Support the development of farmer associations and improved marketing through farmer exchanges and field trips;
  • Pilot a youth-led food processing and small business initiative to promote youth livelihoods and the supply of nutritious foods on the local market;
  • Train 6,000 farming households on sustainable agro-ecological methods, nutrition and gender issues and provide technical support to farmers in production and cooperative development;
  • Train 200 youth in small business operations and market development, food processing and preservation methods; and
  • Establish a Farmer Centre in Agriculture and Health for on-going farmer-to-farmer training.