WINNIPEG, Man. — More help for vulnerable people around the world who are trapped in difficult circumstances without enough to eat—that’s what a new five-year agreement worth $125 million from the Government of Canada means for Canadian Foodgrains Bank.
“This funding will ensure that people living in refugee camps, recovering from natural disasters, and caught in conflicts, will continue to receive crucial food assistance,” said the Honourable Jim Carr, Minister of Natural Resources, who made the announcement on behalf of the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie.
At the announcement, held November 7 at Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg, Minister Carr went on to say that “at a time when the world is seeing record numbers of displaced people and humanitarian needs are greater than ever, I believe that this new funding will make a real difference in the lives of millions of people.”
He affirmed the role the Foodgrains Bank plays in working with the government of Canada, saying that it “has been one of Global Affairs Canada’s most important partners since 1983, providing life-saving food assistance to those who need it most during times of crisis.”
He went on to laud the support from people across Canada, who donate cash and grow crops to “help people in crisis,” adding the rising number of people in need of humanitarian assistance means “the work of the Foodgrains Bank is more critical than ever to those in need.”
In response, Robert Granke, Chair of the Foodgrains Bank Board of Directors, expressed appreciation on behalf of the 15 member agencies of the Foodgrains Ban. He thanked the government for “the generous commitment they continue to show for ending hunger around the world.”
“Our vision at the Foodgrains Bank is a world without hunger, and it is a vision we are proud to share with the Government of Canada,” he added.
Will Bergmann, a farmer from rural Manitoba and a member of the Chip-In growing project near Glenlea, Manitoba, spoke on behalf of Foodgrains Bank supporters. He echoed Granke’s appreciation.
“I thank and applaud the Canadian government for their continued support of what we are trying to do,” he said, noting that with the matching support of the Canadian government “the impact we can have is incredible.”
For farmers like him, “hunger across the globe is a very real issue that strikes a chord with many people,” he added. “I’m so happy and so blessed to live in a country where helping developing nations is a possibility for us, and at the forefront of our thoughts.”
In a statement, Minister Bibeau noted that “the Canadian Foodgrains Bank and its wide array of supporters highlight the generosity of Canadians in helping people in need. Our partnership with the Foodgrains Bank will help ensure that the most vulnerable populations can receive the food and nutritional support they need in times of crisis.”
Foodgrains Bank Executive Director Jim Cornelius, who was in Ethiopia visiting projects supported by the Foodgrains Bank that helped people in that country weather this year’s severe drought, was unable to attend the announcement.
In a message to the gathering, he expressed his regrets for not being present and noted that the food provided through the Foodgrains Bank’s member agencies has helped thousands of families in Ethiopia get through the food crisis.
“People I met have expressed deep appreciation to the people of Canada for standing with them during this difficult time,” he said, adding that the “good news” is that “the rains have returned and households are expecting a good harvest this year.”
Added John Longhurst, Director of Resources and Public Engagement for the Foodgrains Bank: “This response to the Ethiopian drought is a good example of our partnership in action—supporters, growing projects, churches, members, corporations and the Canadian government all working together to help those who don’t have enough to eat.”
With generous support from the Canadian government, last year the Foodgrains Bank provided $43 million of assistance through its member agencies for over one million people in 40 countries. Since its founding in 1983, it has provided over $800 million of food, agricultural training and support and nutrition projects in the developing world.