World Food Day: Canadian Farmers Helping Small-Scale Farmers in Developing Countries Feed Themselves

Farmers prepare to harvest a field in support of the Canadian Foodgrains Bank.

World Food Day has been observed annually, every October 16th, since 1981. The aim of the event is to raise awareness of world hunger and poverty and to inspire solutions for world change.

Canada has a responsibility to help farmers in developing countries where people don’t have enough to eat, according to a survey of Canadians conducted by Ipsos-Reid earlier this year.

Farmers prepare to harvest a field in support of the Canadian Foodgrains Bank (photo credit: Harold Penner, CFGB)

Farmers prepare to harvest a field in support of the Canadian Foodgrains Bank (photo credit: Harold Penner, CFGB)

The poll, which was sponsored by the Canadian Foodgrains Bank and one of its member agencies — the Canadian Catholic  Organization for Development and Peace, found 61 percent of respondents think Canada should be doing more to help farmers in the developing world grow more and better food.

As it stands, not only are Canadian farmers growing food for the world, but many are also helping these small-scale farmers in other countries grow food for themselves, explains Canadian Foodgrains Bank executive director Jim Cornelius in the interview with Kelvin Heppner posted above.

“Economic development is usually started at its base; it’s built around agriculture. That’s one of the key things that can be done to help countries in the developing world. You invest in agriculture and it provides lots of other benefits as the economy strengthens,” he says.

Cornelius discusses the findings of their recent survey, the significant contribution farmers across Canada are making through local growing projects that support CFGB’s efforts to address hunger and how lower commodity prices are impacting CFGB’s fundraising.

Highlights from the Ipsos-Reid survey asking Canadians for views on addressing world hunger (courtesy CFGB):

  • 61 percent of respondents think Canada should do more to help farmers in the developing world to grow more and better food.
  • 52 percent say they would donate to help that cause. 56 percent of respondents said they would be willing to advocate to the Canadian government to support programs that help farmers in the world’s poorer countries.
  • 66 percent of respondents believe that multi-national corporations also have a role to play in ending world hunger, but 43 percent think that the activities of big agricultural companies in developing countries are detrimental to local populations. 35 percent think their activities are beneficial.
  • When asked what type of agriculture is best suited to solving world hunger, half of respondents suggested a mix of big and small farms is the best approach, along with a mix of traditional and scientific knowledge.
  • Respondents also said the trust non-governmental organizations and international (UN) bodies the most when it comes to operating programs that address poverty and hunger.
  • 63 percent of respondents believe the church has a role to play in the effort to end hunger around the world. “Due to its core values of sharing, the church has a part to play in the fight against world hunger,” said the pollster.

The survey, which was conducted in May, was answered by a random sample of 1,002 Canadians aged 18 and older from across the country.

Related: Bringing Drought Tolerance to Africa

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