The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has welcomed a CAD 22.4 million (USD 17.7 million) contribution from Canada to boost the food security and livelihoods of vulnerable communities – especially women, youth and indigenous peoples – reeling from the impacts of COVID-19 in nine countries across Africa and Latin America.
Canada’s contribution will go towards FAO’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery Programme, and is the largest contribution to date to this Programme – a blueprint for mitigating the immediate impacts of the pandemic and for strengthening the long-term resilience of agri-food systems.
The CAD 22.4 million will benefit vulnerable communities at risk of or experiencing high acute food insecurity in Bolivia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Honduras, Nicaragua, Niger, Peru, South Sudan and the Sudan.
FAO will work with governments and other partners to ensure communities most impacted by COVID-19 in these nine countries have sustained access to nutritious food and sources of income; agri-food systems function better; and food safety standards during COVID-19 and beyond are improved.
FAO Director-General QU Dongyu said, “We thank the Government of Canada for its continued and strengthened partnership with FAO to support people bearing the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic. This contribution will go a long way – from supporting the recovery of critical food supply chains, increasing the food security and income of urban poor to bolstering the resilience of farmers hit by Desert Locust outbreaks and COVID-19.”
Karina Gould, Canada’s Minister of International Development said, “Canada will continue working with the global community to strengthen the resilience of agri-food systems and protect the livelihoods of people affected by the pandemic.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused disruptions in national and regional food supply chains, with food producers and distributors experiencing widespread losses.
FAO is particularly concerned as acute food insecurity soared to a five-year high in 2020 due to conflict, economic shocks and extreme weather events often exacerbated by COVID-19, affecting at least 155 million people in 55 countries/territories. FAO is also concerned about the long-term impacts of the pandemic that might leave hundreds of millions of people across the world without access to adequate nutritious food.
In response, FAO has been conducting rapid food and local markets’ assessments; helping farmers access seeds, markets, training in climate-smart agricultural practices, and income diversification activities; strengthening rural and agricultural community-based organizations, including women’s organizations; and providing support for gender-responsive public social protection programmes for rural and marginalized communities.