VIDEO: Foodgrains bank wants candidates grilled on foreign aid

The international aid budget has been declining despite the government’s commitment to improving maternal and child health overseas

Candidates and party leaders often focus on voters’ selfish interests, but the Canadian Foodgrains Bank hopes its supporters can also make them think about international aid.

“We’re reminding (the parties) that international aid really does matter, it does make a difference,” said James Kornelsen, the food-grains bank’s public engagement co-ordinator.

“Because the (international aid) budget has been declining over the last several years, by significant amounts, we’re saying that if this matters to you, bring it up with your candidates during the election.”

The foodgrains bank ran a campaign before the federal election call urging supporters to lobby the Conservative government and their local politicians and candidates to increase aid for overseas food aid.

The charity argued that the Conservative government should put more money into international farming aid projects if it wanted to achieve its stated goal of improving maternal and child health in poor nations. It’s because the nutrition that is available to poor women and infants in developing countries generally comes from small-scale farm, and is often produced by women.

As a result, anything boosting the ability of those tiny farms to produce more and better food will directly improve the lives of vulnerable women and children.

“When it comes to ending global hunger, small scale farmers around the world are some of the most vulnerable,” said Kornelsen.

“That has been dropping. We would like to see that amount being increased, or at least being brought back up to levels that were there a few years ago.”

The Conservative government started its term in office by boosting spending on international farming development aid, such as the projects the foodgrains bank co-ordinates and funds.

However, that boost waned after a few years and aid levels dropped back.

The foodgrains bank’s election concerns are available on its website at www.foodgrainsbank.ca.

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