November 26, 2023

Article content

There’s something local people can do to help avert a world hunger catastrophe in developing countries caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and other conflicts, climate change-induced drought and flooding.

Article content

Henry Reinders hopes to raise more than $10,000 with an online auction June 9 – 15, conducted by Snider’s Sydenham Auction in Rockford.

Proceeds will go to Canadian Foodgrains Bank, which helps feed people around the world and teaches farming techniques to raise small-scale farm yields.

The church-based group works with partners to buys food grown in or near the countries where there’s hunger and distributes it. It also lobbies for continued government aid to fight world hunger and strives to raise public awareness.

Reinders is a Meaford farmer and Ontario’s representative with the Canadian Foodgrains Bank.

“We’re coming into a situation that could be catastrophic for a number of people because of the way things are unfolding,” he said. The world is facing the “worst hunger crisis in decades,” the organization’s website says.

The auction is divided into 400 lots, most of which are stored in Reinders’ garage amid the rolling hills of rural Meaford. There’s honey, quilts, furniture, lawn and garden equipment, toys, books, records, electronics, homemade birdhouses and charcuterie boards and more.

The items will be available to see in person at his home on June 15 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 077797 11th Line, south of Highway 26. The 11 Line intersects Highway 26, atop the Bayview Hill.

Ukraine’s food exports alone traditionally feed about 400 million people around the world, which war there has left in doubt now, he said.

Article content

Globe and Mail columnist Doug Saunders wrote recently that Ukraine exports 10 per cent of the world’s wheat, 13 per cent of barley, 15 per cent of corn and 50 per cent of sunflower oil. It’s one of the world’s largest agricultural exporters.

The Group of Seven ministers have said 43 million people are “one food shipment removed from famine and starvation,” Saunders noted.

Russia’s war on Ukraine, and the Western blockade of Russian agricultural exports, have helped send food prices soaring. Russian naval blockades of food exports through the Black Sea, he wrote, are imperilling millions of people’s food supply as well.

The Global Report on Food Crises, by the United Nations’ World Food Programme, says more than 500,000 people will likely face a catastrophic famine — starvation and death this year in Yemen, Madagascar, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Somalia.

Climate emergency-induced drought and flooding, and conflicts which close borders and disrupt food supply chains, make it challenging for small-scale farmers to grow enough food, the Foodgrains organization says.

Reinders said 70 per cent of the world’s hungry are farmers who work two-acre plots. Fertilizers have been tied up because of the war in Ukraine, raising concerns about crop yields too, he said.

In normal times, the Foodgrains Bank secures one-year contracts for humanitarian food aid but with escalating prices, only two-month contracts are available because prices are rising so fast, Reinders said. It means both hungry people and the organizations that try to keep them fed are able to buy less food than they used to.

Recently the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization, which helps feed people around the world, said it was having to take “food away from hungry people in order to feed starving people,” Reinders said.

This is the second year of the Foodgrains auction, held in lieu of in-person fundraising events which have been foregone during the pandemic. New this year will be an option for people to make $50 and $100 auction donations to support Foodgrains work.

For more information, contact Henry Reinders at 519-373-2769 or [email protected].


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *