Canada announces food security initiative

On Friday Canada’s Minister of International Cooperation, Beverly Oda, unveiled the Canadian International Development Agency’s (CIDA) Food Security Strategy in an important step towards actualizing Canada’s pledge from the 2009 G8 summit. Canada has made global food security one of its key priorities. The outlined strategy is intended to address the residual impact of the food crisis, as well as the effects of the current economic crisis and climate change on developing countries, through sustainable and effective initiatives.

Minister Oda announced that “CIDA will follow three paths: food aid including nutrition, agriculture, and research toward helping developing countries become more food self-sufficient, an essential base for all long-term development…” The strategy includes measures for short-, medium-, and long-term initiatives designed to assist the poorest—like the developing world’s smallholder farmers—in weathering external shock like food shortages, and addressing obstacles to economic growth like constraints on market access and agricultural productivity.

On Friday the Minister also announced a new Canadian International Food Security (CIFS) Research Fund. This $62-million fund, a joint venture between CIDA and the International Development Research Centre, will support research partnerships between Canadian and developing-country organizations to conduct research activities that will help address food insecurity.

The Food Security Strategy builds on Canada’s commitment at the 2009 G8 summit in L’Aquila to more than double its investment in funding for food security and agriculture (including food aid) with an additional $600 million in funding over three years. It is essential that these commitments, when operationalized, work in close partnership with developing countries. Activities must take into account the needs of poor, smallholder farmers, and work to harness the potential for smallholder farmers to increase agricultural productivity and contribute to food security in their communities and regions.

Canada will be hosting the 2010 G8 summit, and we are looking forward to seeing CIDA’s Food Security Initiative in action in the fight against hunger and poverty.

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