CANADIAN INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY - CIDA

CANADIAN INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY - CIDA

November 30, 2007 12:27 ET

The Government of Canada Supports a Project of the University of Montreal to Better Feed Families in Madagascar

SAINT-HYACINTHE, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Nov. 30, 2007) - Today, the Honourable Christian Paradis, Secretary of State (Agriculture) and MP for Megantic-L'Erable, announced on behalf of the Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, that the Government of Canada will provide close to one million dollar in funding to the University of Montreal's Department of Veterinary Medicine for a project to improve livestock health in Madagascar.

"I am very proud to support the work of the University of Montreal in Madagascar," said Minister Oda. "In many countries, hunger and malnutrition are often the main causes of diseases. This project will improve both veterinary practices and the care of livestock in many rural communities of the country. Thus, local farmers will improve the health of their livestock and better feed their families."

"The support of our Government to this project reflects our commitment to help developing countries in concrete and efficient ways," said Secretary of State Paradis. "Maskoutains, Quebeckers and Canadians are rightly proud of the difference that both our veterinary experts and farmers are making in the world by sharing their knowledge and techniques."

Through this project, the University of Montreal will provide expertise to strengthen the veterinary program at the University of Antananarivo in Madagascar by remodelling its present undergraduate degree, setting up a continuing-education program for veterinary practitioners and establishing a process for veterinary education among farmers.

"Not only does our support for our colleagues at the University of Antananarivo allow tangible improvements in teaching veterinary medicine in Madagascar, but it also benefits our researchers and students from being in contact with realities very different from those they know here," said Dr. Jean Sirois, Dean of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at University of Montreal. "In short, this international, interdisciplinary mutual cooperation is central to modern veterinary medicine's quest to improve the health of both animals and people."

Targeting four agricultural regions in Madagascar, these efforts will support the modernization of veterinary practices and livestock care in rural areas, enabling local farmers to better feed their families. To ensure that the University's veterinary program meets farmers' needs, the project will also include a study on agricultural needs and practices in twelve villages.

The Government of Canada provides funding through the University Partnership in Development and Cooperation Program (UPDC) of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and is managed by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC). For more information, please see the attached backgrounder.


Backgrounder

November 2007

THE GOVERNMENT OF CANADA SUPPORTS A PROJECT OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MONTREAL TO IMPROVE HUMAN AND ANIMAL HEALTH IN MADAGASCAR

The Government of Canada today announced a contribution of $999,884 to the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Montreal for a project to improve quality of life in Madagascar.

The Government of Canada provides funding through the University Partnership in Development and Cooperation Program (UPDC) of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and is managed by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC).

This partnership with the University of Antananarivo will promote food security by enabling knowledge sharing about veterinary practices and livestock care.

The collaboration between veterinarians and farmers will increase the availability of animal protein, allowing for greater stability and availability of food.

This project is expected to strengthen the undergraduate degree and the continuing education program of the University of Antananarivo's veterinary department, improve the care provided to livestock by veterinarians and farmers, and incite farmers to use a sufficient portion of livestock production to feed their families, particularly women and children.

The main activities of this project include a review of the present undergraduate degree, setting up a continuing-education program for veterinary practitioners and establishing a process for veterinary education of farmers, as well as a basic study of the day-to-day agricultural life in 12 villages and the development of public education tools for rural populations.

Lack of food security compounds almost all of the vicious circles that perpetuate poverty in Africa. Reliable and equitable access to an adequate diet is essential, not only to individual lives, but to addressing economic and social inequalities.

- Communities without reliable access to food, or the technology to improve farm efficiency, are often forced to adopt practices that degrade the environment that sustains them.

- Women are responsible for around 70% of the developing world's food production, but have less control of land than men, and often less priority access to food within their homes.

- Hunger is often a root cause of the diseases that disproportionately affect the poor, while disease reduces the capacity of communities to produce food.

- Where locally produced food does not contain all the necessary micronutrients, even people who are not hungry may be malnourished.

The long-term benefits of the partnership project between the University of Montreal and the University of Antananarivo will accrue by promoting local ownership - putting that knowledge in the hands of farmers and the people who work with them.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of International Cooperation
    Veronique Bruneau
    Press Secretary
    819-953-6238
    or
    Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
    Media Relations Office
    819-953-6534
    info@acdi-cida.gc.ca
    http://www.cida.gc.ca (electronic version of document)
    or
    Secretary of State for Agriculture
    Mark Quinlan
    Director, Communications
    613-759-1063
    or
    University of Montreal
    Sophie Langlois
    Director of Media Relations
    514-343-7704
    sophie.langlois@umontreal.ca