(posted Feb. 17, 6:00 p.m.)- Canada today announced a new $8.1 million aid package ($8 million USD) for rural development and food security in Nicaragua, according to a press release from the Canadian government.
The announcement was made by Canada’s Minister of State of Foreign Affairs Diane Ablonczy, who was in Managua this week to meet with her Nicaraguan counterparts, Foreign Minister Samuel Santos and Valdrack Jaentschke, deputy foreign minister for international cooperation. Ablonczy’s visit to Nicaragua, part of her four-country tour of Central and South America, was the first by a Canadian Cabinet minister since 2009.
“With Canada’s assistance, Nicaragua will continue to boost food production by small-scale farmers, helping many Nicaraguan families get the food they need to live safe, healthy and productive lives,” said Minister Ablonczy in a press release. “Our government will continue to support initiatives like this as part of our efforts to help build prosperity for all of those who call the Americas home.”
Canada’s support for Nicaragua, which will flow from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) until 2015, contributes to strengthening the country’s agriculture and forestry sector, the release says. This project, delivered through the Nicaraguan government’s Productive Rural Development Sector Program (PRORURAL), will focus on strengthening farmers’ capacity to increase their productivity and food quality, according to the Canadian government.
Canada and Nicaragua also discussed trade. Nicaragua is Canada’s third-largest trading partner in Central America, but bilateral trade is on the rise. In 2011, two-way merchandise trade between Canada and Nicaragua reached $371 million, a 45% increase from 2010, according to statistics provided by the Canadian government.