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Funding continued for Foodgrains Bank

The federal government commitment ensures stable funding for the next five years

The federal government is renewing its partnership with the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, promising $125 million to the organization over the next five years.

“I think this is an opportunity for the government of Canada to support the wonderful work of the Canadian Foodgrains Bank and also to say to all of those farmers who are growing their crops to feed the hungry of the world, that the Government of Canada respects that contribution and wants to be a part of it,” said Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr, speaking on behalf of Marie-Claude Bibeau, minister of international development and La Francophonie.

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The announcement was made at the Canadian Men­nonite University in Win­nipeg on Nov. 7.

While unable to attend the event in person due to commitments in Ethiopia, the Foodgrains Bank’s executive director Jim Cornelius said that the organization deeply appreciated the long-standing commitment.

“It enables our member agencies and their partners to effectively respond to food crises around the world in a timely manner,” he said. “We are able to combine this government funding with donor-matching dollars, much of which comes from Canadian farmers and rural communities, to help women and men recover from crises and build and strengthen their livelihoods.”

Bob Granke, chair of the Canadian Foodgrains Bank’s board of directors and executive director of Canadian Lutheran World Relief echoed that sentiment at the announcement.

“Our vision at the Canadian Foodgrains Bank is a world without hunger and it is a vision we are proud to share with the Government of Canada,” he said.

In 2015-16, the Foodgrains Bank provided $43 million in assistance to roughly one million people in 40 countries. Through the CFGB’s extensive network of members and local partners on the ground, food assistance is provided, often through either a food basket or food vouchers, that helps families get through the crisis period. This funding will also support targeted nutritional interventions, such as specialized nutritional foods for pregnant and nursing mothers, as well as young children.

Recent work has included helping people cope with drought in Africa and preparing small-scale farmers for changing climate patterns through the adoption of conservation agriculture.

“Our work at the Foodgrains Bank continues to be dominated by the needs of the Syrian refugees, that’s an ongoing disaster, which continues to occupy a lot of our attention, but we’re very glad that the supplies and the food that we provided for people who were struggling with drought in Africa have been useful,” said John Longhurst, the organizations’s director, resources and public engagement. “They now have rain, so it sounds like they are going to have a harvest again, so we got a lot of people through that tough time.”

Founded in 1983, the Canadian Foodgrains Bank is a partnership of 15 Canadian churches and faith-based agencies, which relies on both government grants and public donations to fight hunger around the world.

About the author

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Shannon VanRaes is a journalist and photojournalist at the Manitoba Co-operator. She also writes a weekly urban affairs column for Metro Winnipeg, and has previously reported for the Winnipeg Sun, Outwords Magazine and the Portage Daily Graphic.

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