05.05.2008 Business & Finance

World food crisisCanada boosts aid in response to the U.N. World Food Programme`s global appeal

05.05.2008 LISTEN
By Accra Mail

Canada's Minister of International Cooperation Beverley J. Oda, and Christian Paradis, Secretary of State (Agriculture) last week April 30, 2008 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."

Said Secretary of State Paradis: “Canadians can be proud of this Government's record on providing food to those who so desperately need our help. 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.

Source: High Commission of Canada, Accra, Ghana