Minister MacKay and MP Armstrong announce two projects that will help boost farmers’ productivity and resilience
OTTAWA, Canada, February 2, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Today, on behalf of the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, and Scott Armstrong, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment and Social Development and Member of Parliament for Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, participated in an event at Dalhousie University to highlight Canada’s continued support for agriculture in Ethiopia.
The event brought together university partners and the student community. Minister MacKay and MP Armstrong took the opportunity to mark the launch of the 25th annual International Development Week by announcing Canada’s contribution to two new projects focusing on agriculture and irrigation training, implemented respectively by Dalhousie University and by Agriteam Canada.
“Our government is proud to partner with Dalhousie University to help Ethiopian agricultural students to participate in market-led and growth-oriented agriculture, either as producers or employees of commercial agricultural enterprises,” said Minister MacKay. “This means increased incomes and better access to food for thousands of families.”
Although major gains have been made in the past decade, Ethiopia still faces chronic food insecurity.
“Canada is recognized in Ethiopia for its leadership in nutrition and its expertise in agricultural development,” said MP Armstrong. “Helping farmers boost their productivity, both through training and irrigation initiatives, helps communities become more resilient to droughts and other difficulties. Increasing the quality and variety of nutrients that farmers produce ensures a balanced and quality diet. By increasing the amount of food grown, and improving the food value chain, we also ensure sustainable economic growth. These efforts are central to poverty reduction.”
“At Dalhousie University we aspire to have not only a local impact but also a global impact,” said Richard Florizone, President of Dalhousie University. “This international development project in Ethiopia, one of the largest in Dalhousie University’s history and the largest for the Faculty of Agriculture, will enable us to make world-class contributions to a global issue by sharing agricultural expertise to support economic growth and alleviate poverty.”
“Canada has been working with development partners in Ethiopia for several decades, and these partnerships have proven efficient in achieving real results in improving food security and reducing poverty,” added Minister Paradis. “Canada engages with accountable, effective development actors, such as Agriteam Canada, Dalhousie University and Mennonite Economic Development Associates, that can best deliver results.”
Ethiopia’s economy predominantly depends on traditional subsistence agriculture, which supports more than 83 percent of the population. Ethiopia is highly reliant on rain-fed agriculture, and its high potential for irrigation is only beginning to be developed.
• The year 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of Canada-Ethiopia diplomatic relations.
• Canada is an important contributor to the 2012 G-8 New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition and a key partner in fostering sustainable agricultural development in Africa. The goals of the New Alliance are to increase responsible domestic and foreign private investments in African agriculture, take innovations that can enhance agricultural productivity to scale and reduce the risk borne by vulnerable economies and communities.
• Since the Muskoka Initiative in 2010, Ethiopia has been one of the countries where Canada is focusing its efforts to improve maternal, newborn and child health, including through improved nutrition.
Canada – Ministry of Foreign Affairs