Federal funds to help African farmers

The $3-million program will focus on supporting small-scale farmers hit hard by COVID-19 disruptions

African farmers disrupted by COVID will benefit from funds from the Canadian government. The Canadian Foodgrains Bank says such help is sorely needed.

New funding from the federal government will support small-scale farmers in Africa, the Canadian Foodgrains Bank announced September 3.

“The small-scale farmers we work with in developing countries have been significantly impacted by COVID-19 prevention methods,” said outgoing Foodgrains Bank executive director Jim Cornelius in a news release.

“Drastic efforts to reduce the spread of the coronavirus have disrupted livelihoods, farm production and food supply chains,” he said. “For small-scale farmers who rely on the crops they grow for food and income these disruptions can mean the difference between having food on their plates or not.”

The Canadian government made the new fund of $2.3 million available on a 3:1 matching basis. CFGB will contribute about $700,000 for a total around $3 million.

The new grant will go towards projects in Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Uganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Kenya starting this year and going into 2021.

Projects will focus on providing agricultural support to help farmers increase yields, supporting community savings and loans programs so farmers can buy seeds and inputs, and assisting farmers to get crops to market.

“With this additional support from Global Affairs Canada, we have an opportunity to make sure small-scale farmers, and communities in Africa who depend on them, have access to food throughout this pandemic and beyond,” Cornelius said.

The additional funding comes at a time where the World Food Program warns we may face the worst humanitarian food crisis since the Second World War due to the COVID-19 pandemic, CFGB said.

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