June 17, 2011 10:38 ET

Minister Oda Reinforces Canada's Role in Global Food Security in Rome

ROME, ITALY--(Marketwire - June 17, 2011) - The Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, while in Rome, Italy, to reinforce Canada's humanitarian and development work on food security, [] met with the Executive Director and the global nutrition team of the World Food Programme (WFP) and the President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

When the cost of food increases, the world's poorest, who already spend up to 80 percent of their income on food, cannot afford to feed their families. This leads to hunger, unrest and migration. The high cost of food also has an impact on the cost of food aid and the ability to assist people affected by conflict and major natural disasters.

"Canada's food security programs are currently playing a critical role in a time when the cost of food is rising to levels matching the 2008 food crisis, when riots erupted in many developing countries," said Minister Oda. "The current situation calls for the most effective responses to ensure food reaches the tables of the most vulnerable, particularly those of women and children. I commended the WFP for its work on nutrition, a key element of Canada's Muskoka Initiative [] to improve maternal, newborn and child health, and encouraged the organization to continue seeking innovative, cost-effective ways to reduce world hunger."

Canada has a strong record of supporting health, nutrition, and food security issues. The WFP is CIDA's largest humanitarian partner, and, in 2010, Canada was the second-highest single country donor to the WFP.

In the Minister's meeting with IFAD, Minister Oda reiterated Canada's L'Aquila G-8 commitment to support smallholder farmers, particularly women. She also received a report on the results of Canada's contribution to IFAD. Minister Oda discussed the need to provide support to IFAD, so that many of these farmers could graduate from subsistence level farming to small and medium-sized businesses with access to local and regional markets. The Minister reinforced that, for long-term food security to take hold in developing countries, infrastructure, irrigation, and technical capacity must be addressed within the context of a country's coherent food security plan, which looks at the value chain progression and will lead to effective development and improvements to reduce poverty.

These meetings in Rome concluded Minister Oda's European visit in which she emphasized Canada's focus on effectiveness and accountability to achieve value and results from Canada's international assistance.

Contact Information

  • Justin Broekema
    Press Secretary
    Office of the Minister of International Cooperation

    Media Relations Office
    Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)