Canada increases support to alleviate hunger in Niger

July 29, 2005 Ottawa -- The Honourable Aileen Carroll, Minister of International Cooperation, announced today that Canada will provide an additional $1 million to the World Food Programme (WFP) to help fight hunger in Niger. The funding, provided by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) to WFP's emergency operation for Niger, makes Canada one of the largest donors in response to the food crisis.
"This untied contribution ensures that urgently needed food will reach those people most affected by the drought and locust invasion in Niger," Minister Carroll said. "We will continue to assess and respond to the country's evolving needs."

Last year, Canada gave $6.5 million to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) as a proactive effort to mitigate the invasion of desert locusts in the African nation. Earlier this month, Canada contributed an additional $1 million to the WFP. Canada also provided $100,000 for emergency response to be managed in the field through the Canadian Embassy in Niger, bringing our total contribution to the Niger food crisis to $8.6 million to date.

Niger currently faces a serious food crisis. Drought and an invasion of desert locusts caused a 225,000 tonne grain deficit in the 2004-2005 harvest. The food crisis threatens some 3.5 million people in close to 3,000 villages.

WFP is the largest international food aid organization working to alleviate hunger in underdeveloped nations with severe food shortages. It provides the food and the logistics support necessary to get food aid to those in need.

Funding for this initiative was provided for in the February 2005 federal budget and is therefore built into the existing fiscal framework.


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