FAO GIEWS Crop Prospects and Food Situation, No. 1, March 2014

FAO’s forecasts for global cereal production, consumption, trade and stocks in 2013/14 have all been raised since February, with overall supply conditions significantly improved compared to the previous season.

Export prices of wheat rose in February mainly on concerns about the 2014 winter wheat crop in the United States. Prices of maize also increased, supported by strong domestic and export demand for feed and industrial use. Overall, however, cereal export prices remained below their year-earlier levels.

Aggregate cereal imports in LIFDCs in 2013/14 are estimated at a near-record level mainly due to reduced harvests in Africa, overall stagnant domestic production and rising demand.

In the Central African Republic, continued widespread conflict has displaced large numbers of people and sharply increased the dire food security situation.

In Eastern Africa, food security conditions have deteriorated sharply in South Sudan since the conflict erupted in mid-December, and about 3.7 million people are estimated to be in need of emergency assistance.

In Western Africa, the overall food security situation has remained stable following an above average 2013 cereal harvest. However, over 20 million people are estimated to be in need of food assistance due to insecurity and reduced crops in parts of the Sahel.

In Southern Africa, tighter maize supplies and high food prices have affected access to food, mainly to vulnerable groups; however, conditions are expected to improve with a favourable production outlook in 2014.

In North Africa, early prospects for the 2014 winter wheat and coarse grains crops, to be harvested from May, are favourable.

In the Far East, overall early prospects for the subregion’s 2014 wheat crop are favourable, with record outputs expected in India and China. . However, more than 4 million people still remain displaced in the Philippines by Typhoon Haiyan.

Conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic continues to affect agricultural production, trade and humanitarian aid distribution. The number of people in need of urgent food and livelihood assistance is estimated at about 6.3 million. In Yemen, some 43 percent of the population is estimated to be food insecure.

In South America, overall prospects for the first season 2014 maize crop remain favourable despite dry spells in parts, as improved rainfall in early 2014 prevented significant yield reductions in the main producing countries – Argentina and Brazil. In Bolivia severe floods hit the northern El Beni department affecting the livestock sector and causing localized crop losses.

FAO estimates that globally 33 countries, including 26 countries in Africa, are in need of external assistance for food due to or a combination of conflict, crop failures, and high domestic food prices.

FAO GIEWS Crop Prospects and Food Situation, No. 4, December 2013

Latest estimates confirm a large increase in 2013 world cereal output; early prospects for 2014 wheat crop are mostly favourable.

The benchmark United States wheat export price declined in November on generally favourable 2014 crop prospects. Prices of maize and rice also eased somewhat and were at levels well below those of a year earlier.

Cereal imports of LIFDCs for 2013/14 are estimated to increase by some 4 percent, mainly reflecting reduced harvests in Africa and increased demand in Egypt.

In Western Africa, in several parts of the Sahel, especially in Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal, crops and pastures have been affected this year by a late onset and early cessation of rains, which could lead to a new surge in food insecurity and malnutrition in the 2013/14 marketing year.

In the Central African Republic, a serious food insecurity situation has developed following civil unrest, with 1.3 million people, approximately 30 percent of the rural population, in need of emergency food assistance.

In North Africa, record 2013 wheat harvests were gathered in Egypt and Morocco while a sharp decline was observed in Tunisia.

In Eastern Africa, food security is improving gradually as newly harvested crops become available; the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance has fallen by nearly one-third to about 9 million, compared to December 2012.

In Southern Africa, prices of cereals are near or at record levels in several countries, underpinned by tighter supplies in the 2013/14 marketing year. Dry weather has delayed planting of the 2014 crop in parts.

In the Far East, the livelihood of over 14 million people in the Philippines has been adversely affected by Typhoon Haiyan. Overall, the 2013 subregional aggregate cereal harvest is estimated at a record level.

In the Syrian Arab Republic and in Yemen continued civil conflicts result in severe food insecurity with 6 and 4.5 million people, respectively, requiring emergency food assistance.

In CIS countries the area planted to winter grains in 2013 declined compared to 2012 following reductions in the Russian Federation and Ukraine due to excessive rains.

In Central America, the 2013 main season maize harvest was estimated at good levels and prices have declined sharply in several countries in recent months.

In South America, the 2013 aggregate wheat crop, being harvested, is anticipated to recover from last year’s reduced level despite losses due to frost earlier in the season.

The Philippines: Strong Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) severely affected the agriculture sector in the central Regions of the country

 Overall damage to agriculture high

 Earlier expectations for increased rice production in 2013 stifled by the typhoons

 Significant paddy losses at sub-national level

 Rice imports forecast to increase in 2014

 Fisheries sector also severely affected by Haiyan

 FAO to provide assistance for agriculture rehabilitation

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Address by Ms. Lois Brown, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development: Announcement of assistance to the International Committee of the Red Cross for emergency response in Asia and Pacific region

August 13, 2014 – Vancouver, BC

Check Against Delivery

Good morning, everyone.

Thank you for joining us. I am pleased to be here today, on behalf of the Honourable Christian Paradis, Canada’s Minister of International Development and La Francophonie.

The Asia-Pacific region is among the world’s most vulnerable to natural disasters.

We have seen it in recent years as devastating earthquakes, typhoons and tsunamis have rocked coastlines and in some cases wiped entire communities off the map.

Lives have been stolen and livelihoods lost.

We saw it last fall, when the most powerful storm ever recorded made landfall in the Philippines.

Typhoon Haiyan did not arrive unpredictably. We all knew days in advance that it was churning in the Pacific, and that if it kept to its anticipated course, the Philippines would fall directly in its path.

And still, even with the ability to predict and with time to prepare, more than 6,000 people died.

Millions were affected.

And with a large number of injuries and indescribable destruction of property and infrastructure, the Philippines needed emergency humanitarian help.

As Canada and Canadians tend to do in such cases, we joined the international response without delay.

Within 24 hours of the storm making landfall, we had pledged financial support to humanitarian partners on the ground, allowing them to provide immediate assistance.  

We also supported the deployment of a Canadian Red Cross field hospital.

In a single month of operation, medical personnel in that makeshift facility assisted more than 1,200 patients, delivered 418 babies and performed 114 surgeries.

It was a precise operation, made possible by the Red Cross’s ability to mobilize the right people and make the most of their skills.

Last month, tragedy struck again.

On July 15, Typhoon Rammasun (locally known as Glenda) made landfall in Albay province in the Bicol region, on the eastern coast of the Philippines.

While the full impact of Typhoon Rammasum is not yet known,  reports indicate that more than 100 people have died, more than 4 million have been affected, and more than 500,000 houses have been destroyed or damaged.

The Government of Canada provided up to $250,000 to help the Canadian Red Cross Society, in partnership with the Philippine Red Cross, to meet the urgent needs of nearly 14,000 typhoon-affected people.

With our support, they will provide essential household items such as plastic mats, mosquito nets, blankets, jerry cans and hygiene kits.

With both Typhoon Haiyan and Typhoon Rammasun still so fresh in our memories, my next announcement is most timely.

I am proud to announce that the Government of Canada is contributing $3 million to the International Committee of the Red Cross for emergency response in the Asia-Pacific region.

This funding is providing life-saving assistance in response to humanitarian needs in the region. It is helping to improve health and living conditions, and protecting people affected by crises throughout the region.

It is allowing for provision of water, sanitation, hygiene, health care and shelter and it is helping people in need to resume their livelihoods and rebuild their lives.

The International Committee of the Red Cross is an important partner for Canada in situations of conflict and violence.

And we respect its consistent ability to meet the needs of populations affected by conflict, to access people in places where few others can go, and to advance international humanitarian law and policies.

The ICRC is often one of the first organizations in—and among the last ones out of—a humanitarian crisis. Its people go the distance, and we support their efforts.

So it is our pleasure and privilege to support the efforts of the International Committee of the Red Cross in the Asia-Pacific region, so they can carry on with their work to ease the human suffering caused by humanitarian situations.

We make this contribution because Canada has a long tradition of generously helping the world’s most vulnerable people. We live up to the values we hold dear, and want to assist people in their time of greatest need.

It is this compassion and generosity that embodies the value that Canada places on international assistance—whether in the form of humanitarian assistance or long-term development programming.

We make this commitment for many reasons, chief among them because it is an expression of the values we believe in.

The Government of Canada has made our commitment clear: we provide humanitarian assistance when the basic needs of people affected by crises are not met—a commitment reiterated with today’s announcement.

Thank you.

Canada Providing Humanitarian Assistance to Vulnerable Women and Children in the Philippines

Canada’s support is addressing immediate needs of thousands of conflict-affected people on Mindanao Island

August 10, 2014 – Vancouver, British Columbia – Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

Today, the Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State for Seniors, on behalf of the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, announced funding for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for the provision of humanitarian assistance to thousands of conflict-affected women and children on Mindanao island in the Philippines.

Following decades of ongoing conflict on Mindanao, new violence in September 2013 in Zamboanga City displaced thousands of families.

“The many women and children affected by conflict are at increased risk of disease, malnutrition and danger, including child trafficking and gender-based violence,” said Minister Wong. “Canada is helping to change that by providing funding to UNICEF for activities that are addressing immediate needs, such as access to safe drinking water, improved sanitation and hygiene, and improved nutrition.”

“Children in Mindanao live in difficult conditions imposed by a conflict for which they are not responsible” said Meg French, UNICEF Canada’s Director of International Policy and Programs. “The generosity of the Government of Canada will help children and families gain better access to safe drinking water and better nutrition, and they will benefit from child-friendly spaces where they can regain a sense of normalcy in their lives and have a safe place to play.”

“Canada proudly reaffirms its commitment to save lives, alleviate suffering and maintain the dignity of those who are affected by ongoing conflict,” said Minister Paradis. “Canada remains committed to assisting the Filipino people and building on our strong relations with the Philippines.”

Minister Wong announced the funding at Pinoy Fiesta in Vancouver, the largest Filipino cultural event in Canada.

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Address by Minister Baird at the Opening of the ASEAN-Canada Post-Ministerial Conference

August 9, 2014 – Naypyidaw, Burma

Check Against Delivery

Distinguished colleagues and friends, I am very pleased to be with you again.

This is now my fourth consecutive ASEAN-Canada Post-Ministerial Conference. Over the last year, I can confidently and proudly say that we have made more progress in building our partnership than in any other year.

So as we begin this session, I would like to give you a brief update on this progress and set out where I see our next steps.

Canada is, unequivocally, a Pacific nation. We are deeply integrated with Asia-Pacific historically, geographically, demographically and economically.

We are also increasingly deepening that integration politically. I don’t just say that as a politician trying to please an audience. In Canada we have a saying that you “vote with your feet,” and that’s exactly what we’ve been doing in Southeast Asia.

I arrived in Yangon [Burma] yesterday after two weeks of meetings across the region. I had the opportunity to meet with president-elect Joko Widodo and, of course, our colleague Marty in Jakarta.

In Singapore, I gave a lecture about supporting stability in Asia and, of course, met with our esteemed co-chair, Minister Shanmugam [Kasiviswanathan Shanmugam, Singapore’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Law]. I also had the opportunity to visit the young country of Timor-Leste, which, as you know, is keen to join ASEAN in the near future.

This trip builds on numerous others. In fact, when visiting Vientiane last year, I had the distinct pleasure of becoming the first Canadian minister to visit every ASEAN member state.

My friend and colleague Ed Fast, the minister of international trade, will soon be able to say the same, ahead of the Canada-ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting.

This focus is also shared by Prime Minister Stephen Harper. For example, in 2012 he became the first Canadian prime minister to visit the Philippines in over a decade. Last year, he visited Malaysia—again, this was the first Canadian head-of-government visit to Kuala Lumpur in decades. And this was followed by Indonesia, for the APEC Summit.

Two months ago, Canada welcomed the ASEAN economic ministers for a five-day “road show” to expand trade and investment linkages: another first for Canada, in receiving such a high-level delegation from ASEAN.

We have met your leaders and seen first-hand the impressive development in the region, including ASEAN’s efforts to strengthen its community and reinforce its central role in regional architecture.

I see ASEAN as a vitally important institution in the region and a key vehicle for our support to the region.

More importantly, we are more engaged with you than we ever have been in the past. We are present, we are active, and we are here for the long term.

On Tuesday I had the honour of meeting [ASEAN] Secretary-General [Le Luong] Minh at the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta—another first for a Canadian foreign minister. I advised the Secretary-General that Canada will establish a dedicated, stand-alone mission to ASEAN headed by a new ambassador.

And just yesterday, in Yangon, I had the honour of opening Canada’s newest diplomatic mission. This too was a historic first for Canada: we have long had diplomatic relations with ASEAN’s current chair, but never a resident representative in-country.

I am also pleased to announce today that the Government of Canada is further expanding its diplomatic footprint in Southeast Asia. We will be establishing on-the-ground Canadian diplomatic presence in both Cambodia and Laos.

With these new resources, Canada will have a diplomatic presence in all 10 ASEAN member states—again, a historic first for Canada.

We commit to having the expanded Canadian diplomatic footprint in ASEAN in place within a year. But this isn’t about the bricks and mortar of diplomatic buildings, it’s about our commitment to democracy and prosperity in ASEAN member states.

Our relationship with ASEAN is of strategic importance to both sides. Canada has been increasing our engagement across the full spectrum of common interests.

During the past several years, we have taken specific and concrete steps to enhance our partnership. These steps are consistent with, and responsive to, ASEAN priorities in the lead-up to the establishment of the ASEAN Community in 2015.

Two years ago in Phnom Penh [Cambodia], I committed Canada to a contribution of $10 million over three years for ASEAN initiatives. I followed that up at the last post-ministerial conference in Brunei, where I outlined specific new projects for ASEAN and for Southeast Asia in excess of $30 million.

Canada has delivered on those commitments.

We have worked with ASEAN member states and the Secretariat to move forward on projects announced last year in Brunei, of which I would highlight three:

First, a $6.5-million project in support of the Mitigation of Biological Threats in ASEAN, funded at the request of ASEAN health ministers.

The second project, $3 million, is focused on Improving Counter-Terrorism Investigation and International Collaboration in ASEAN.

The third project is Financial Regulations Capacity Building in ASEAN—2 million.

Colleagues, I am happy to report that not only did we meet our commitment of $10 million in funding, we have exceeded it.

Our current cooperation covers all three ASEAN pillars: political-security, economic and socio-cultural.

Today, I am furthering this cooperation by announcing additional funding in the amount of $14 million to help address security issues of shared concern in Southeast Asia and to enhance the ASEAN connectivity agenda.

We’ll work to mitigate biological and nuclear threats, disrupt illicit flows while protecting legitimate trade, combat human smuggling activities and improve regional cyber-security tools, and we’ll work with our ASEAN partners to address the phenomenon of “foreign fighters” and “radicalization.” Another key focus of this new Canadian programming will be to bolster border management capacities, particularly in ASEAN’s CMLV states [Cambodia, Burma, Laos and Vietnam]. Taken together, these projects will complement those of ASEAN to improve regional connectivity, whether through information technology or the safe and secure movement of people and goods across borders by sea, air or land.

Also in the political-security sphere, in addition to the projects mentioned above, Canada’s Deputy Minister of National Defence was recently in Singapore for the Shangri-La Dialogue, accompanied by my own deputy minister. Both reiterated Canada’s commitment to expanding our contribution to regional security initiatives in ASEAN, including through the ASEAN Regional Forum, but also our specific interest in becoming a member of ADMM+ [ASEAN Defence Ministers Plus].

On the economic pillar, Canada has developed an impressive set of projects to enhance our economic cooperation. Some of the key activities in the coming year include:

  1. The Canada-ASEAN Business Council [CABC] will organize the second Canada-ASEAN Business Forum in March 2015.
  2. The CABC will work with the ASEAN Corporate Social Responsibility [CSR] Network and the Government of Canada to organize an ASEAN-Canada CSR forum in Bali in November 2014.
  3. Canada and Singapore will co-host an ASEAN-Canada Clean Energy Seminar in October in Singapore.

Finally, on the socio-cultural pillar, I am pleased to announce that through Grand Challenges Canada, we will be funding seven new health projects in ASEAN member countries this year: in Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam.

This funding, totalling $784,000, will support scientific, technical, social and business innovation to solve the most pressing regional and global health challenges. Over the past three years, through Grand Challenges Canada, we have invested $12.8 million to support the development of 57 innovations now being implemented to the near-term benefit of the health of the people of the ASEAN region.

Canada has been clear in outlining our vision for the future of ASEAN-Canada relations. It is a relationship in which Canada is now engaged in all three pillars of ASEAN community building and has truly enhanced our cooperation exponentially over the past three years.

To fully achieve our vision, Canada and ASEAN should engage regularly—and with ASEAN’s regional neighbours—at the highest level. That’s why Canada’s Prime Minister asked in 2012 that Canada be welcomed as a member of the East Asia Summit [EAS]. Engagement at the leaders’ level is essential to fully realize the potential of the ASEAN-Canada partnership. I will be contacting you all directly to request your active support for Canada’s EAS membership.

We have been an interested partner of ASEAN for 37 years. Over the last few years, I hope it is obvious that we have taken this up a gear, with sustained, high-level and practical engagement.

Not only has our long relationship been mutually beneficial, but our recent deepening of cooperation in areas that are priorities for ASEAN has been in direct response to your counsel and commitment.

I believe we have a lot more to contribute, and I look forward to taking this partnership to the next level.

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