Today, the federal government announced $35.5 million to the Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB) over the next three years to help fight food insecurity.
Canadian International Development Minister Ahmed Hussen said food insecurity is rampant globally.
“One in nine people – almost 800 million people – do not have enough food to lead a healthy and active life,” he said, adding that the consequences could be severe.
“Global food insecurity not only leads to hunger, starvation and death, (but) it can also lead to instability, conflict and war. »
Kenneth Kim, Chairman of the CFGB Board of Directors, said this significant grant will fund a new program called Nature Positive Food Systems for Climate Change Adaptation in East Africa, also known as Nature Positive Plus.
The multi-year program aims to help people living in rural areas of Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique and Zimbabwe adapt to climate change for better food security, Kim said.
Barbara MacDonald, director of international programs at CFGB, said climate change is one of the main drivers of world hunger.
“I think you can imagine that producing enough food for your family and your community becomes much more difficult in the face of unpredictable rainfall, historic levels of drought and flooding. And this is especially true when farming and agriculture is your livelihood,” she said.
MacDonald said biodiversity loss and land degradation, products of climate change, have made farming much more difficult.
Hussen said the way food is produced around the world has been a driver of “climate change, pollution and loss of diversity”, and that to produce food that works with nature, soils must be kept in good condition. good health “and flowing water”.
He added that it also means “helping to store carbon and provide shelter for a wide range of diversity and biodiversity, and generating food security for generations to come.”
Ultimately, the goal is to “restore ecological health.” It’s about increasing the capacity of landscapes to absorb the stressors caused by climate change and improving the well-being of the communities that live there,” Hussen said.
“We have all witnessed, here in Canada and around the world, the rising cost of food and the difficulty people have in having enough food to eat. And many, many people around the world, including Canadians, are struggling to put food on the table.
He said global events have significantly reduced grain stocks, “like the pandemic and the war in Ukraine.” Hussen added that supply chains are also fragile, under pressure, and rising costs threaten agricultural productivity.
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Kim said the new program is all about teamwork.
He said Nature Positive Plus is a collaboration “across multiple sectors and countries, all working together in the hope of having a positive impact on what this can do for people living with hunger in these areas”.
Fifteen CFGB members are participating and 12 local partners are working with communities on the front lines of the climate crisis, Kim said.
Terry Duguid, MP for Winnipeg South, said: “We know that Canada must continue to step up and do its part, both as a leading agricultural producer and as a long-standing partner in matters of international aid.
“In Canada, we have the means and the moral responsibility to invest in national and international initiatives that combat climate change and at the same time strengthen international food security,” he said.
MacDonald said the new venture will take decades to restore the health of the identified landscapes, “but we’re really focused now on laying a solid foundation for this work.”
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