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Canadian farmers encouraged to share bounty

stephen vandervalk

Grain Growers of Canada president Stephen Vandervalk of Fort Macleod.

This harvest time, Grain Growers of Canada and Canadian Foodgrains Bank want to encourage farmers across Canada to remember the needs of people experiencing famine and hunger in east Africa.
“Many of us know what’s it’s like to lose a crop to drought,” said Stephen Vandervalk of Fort Macleod, president of the Grain Growers of Canada. “But we’ve never faced the extreme challenges facing farmers in east Africa, with the total crop failures and no reserves. We want to encourage Canadian farmers to respond to the needs in that region by making a donation to the Foodgrains Bank.”
According to John Longhurst, who directs resources and public engagement for the Foodgrains Bank, farmers can donate all types of grains, oilseeds and pulses.
“We have handling agreements with most grain companies in Canada, who are set up to accept donations for the Foodgrains Bank,” Longhurst said. “Most grain elevators and companies are registered to receive donations, and should have grain delivery tickets from the Foodgrains Bank on hand.”
Farmers simply have to indicate at the time of delivery how much grain they would like to donate to the Foodgrains Bank and elevator staff do the rest.
Tax receipts are issued by the Foodgrains Bank for the value of the grain donated on the day of delivery.
To date, the Foodgrains Bank has committed $7.8-million of assistance for the region, providing food for over 230,000 people in Kenya and Ethiopia.
Vandervalk, who donates around 45 tonnes of grain a year to the Foodgrains Bank, knows that times have been tough for some Canadian farmers, due to flooding and hail.
“Those who have been blessed with a good crop, we just want to encourage you to think about supporting the Foodgrains Bank and its work,” Vandervalk said. “It’s not as important how much you can give, just that you do. Even a single tonne can make a big difference.”
Longhurst agreed.
“We are grateful to everyone who donates, and are especially grateful for the strong rural support the Foodgrains Bank has received since its founding in 1983,” Longhurst said. “The idea of farmers in Canada helping farmers in other countries is close to the heart of who we are.”
Canadian Foodgrains Bank is a partnership of 15 churches and church-based agencies working to end global hunger.
With support last year from the Canadian International Development Agency the Foodgrains Bank provided $38-million of assistance to 2.3-million people in 35 countries. For more information, visit www.foodgrainsbank.ca.

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