Hon. Amina Gerba: My question is for the Government Representative in the Senate.
Senator Gold, Macky Sall, President of Senegal and Chairperson of the African Union, travelled to Russia last week with Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, to plead for the Black Sea blockades to be lifted so that Ukrainian grain can be exported to the African countries that depend on it, such as Tunisia, which gets half its wheat supply from Ukraine, and Benin, which relies on Ukraine for all of its imported wheat.
Senator Gold, given this food crisis and knowing that Canada is a major grain producer, I would like to know what short- and long-term measures the government is considering to assist Africa with its pressing food needs.
Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for the question, honourable senator.
With regard to food aid for people in other vulnerable countries, including African countries, the Government of Canada provides food aid in the form of untied grants based on international best practices and recommendations. Canada provides food aid through experienced multilateral and non-governmental organizations, including the World Food Programme.
The current priority is to support Ukraine so that it can get stored grain out of the country and deliver it to its usual markets, including Africa. The Government of Canada is committed to supporting Ukraine’s agricultural industry, which makes a significant contribution to global food security.
Our Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food recently expressed Canada’s desire to help at meetings with her Ukrainian counterpart, Minister Solsky, and with the ambassador of Ukraine to Canada, Yuliia Kovaliv. Canada is currently in close discussions with our Ukrainian partners to identify meaningful ways for Canada to support the country as effectively as possible in cooperation with our G7 partners. I have been told that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has met with its Ukrainian counterpart to learn about its needs.
In closing, the government is committed to taking timely action within these parameters.