MEDA in the News

Canada, Israel join forces to aid Ukrainian agriculture

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Source: "Canada, Israel join forces to aid Ukrainian agriculture" by Paul Lungen in the Canadian Jewish News
BarakParadis
Canada and Israel are relying on a Mennonite NGO to deliver agricultural know-how to Ukraine in a multilevel project that builds on a strategic partnership launched last year during Prime Minister Stephen Harper's visit to Israel.

Late last month, representatives of Canada and Israel met in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to assist farmers and small and medium-sized business owners in a "Ukraine Horticulture Business Development Project." The signing was witnessed by Okeksiy Pavlenko, Ukraine's minister of agrarian policy and food.

According to the Israeli Embassy in Ottawa, the project will see the provision of equipment and training by Canadian and Israeli experts to assist local Ukrainian farmers. Other aspects of the project include the establishment of credit facilities to help farmers access capital to grow their investments, assistance to Ukrainian agricultural institutions to develop courses in "efficient and environmentally sustainable management of small farms," as well as sharing expertise in growing, storage and marketing of agricultural products.

The project is also designed to help train gardening professionals and, according to the Israeli Embassy, "special attention is paid to female farmers and small entrepreneurs who face challenges to the technical development of their businesses due to a lack of funds."

The project will deliver agricultural expertise in four regions of south Ukraine – Zaporizhya, Mikolaye, Odessa and Kherson – all of them fairly close to the breakaway Crimean peninsula.

"Canada is steadfast in its commitment to helping advance democracy, strengthen human rights and support sustainable economic growth in Ukraine," said Christian Paradis, minister of international development and La Francophonie.

"Our support for this project, in collaboration with the government of Israel, will help Ukrainian farmers and small and medium sized businesses move from poverty to prosperity," Paradis said.

"This agreement is another example of how Canada and Israel can leverage mutual expertise to help make the world a better place," said Israeli Ambassador Rafael Barak. "International development is one of the key areas of co-operation – in addition to energy, security, scientific research and academic ties – that were highlighted in the Canada-Israel Strategic Partnership MOU signed last year during Prime Minister Stephen Harper's historic visit to Israel."

At the time the agreement was signed in January 2014, Harper touted the MOU as laying out "a strategic direction for stronger future relations between our two countries in commerce, innovation, energy, security, international aid and development, and the promotion of human rights globally."

Canada is allocating more than $19 million to the project, from 2014 through 2021. As many as 30,000 Ukrainian farmers are expected to benefit.

A key partner in project implementation will be Israel's Agency for International Development Co-operation, MASHAV, which will provide the experts in project training and capacity-building activities while supporting the development of an apprenticeship program for Ukrainian agricultural college students.

The project is being implemented by MEDA, the Mennonite Economic Development Associates of Canada. MEDA is an international economic development organization founded in 1953 by Mennonite business professionals whose mission is to create business solutions to poverty.

Canada-Israel Relationship Extends to Development in Ukraine

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Source: "Canada-Israel Relationship Extends to Development in Ukraine" on the Israel Diplomatic Network Embassy of Israel in Canada

ukraine canada mashav agreementLast month in Kiev, on February 25th, Israel signed a Memorandum of Understanding to support a Canadian funded agriculture project in Ukraine. The signing was witnessed by Ukraine's Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food, Mr. Oleksiy Pavlenko. Working together, the governments of Canada and Israel will assist farmers and small and medium entrepreneurs in the framework of the "Ukraine Horticulture Business Development Project (UHBDP)."

The project is implemented by MEDA - Mennonite Economic Development Associates of Canada with funding from the Government of Canada and the Israeli Agency for International Development Cooperation - Mashav. The beneficiary of the project is Ukraine's Ministry of Agriculture and Food.

"Canada is steadfast in its commitment to helping advance democracy, strengthen human rights and support sustainable economic growth in Ukraine," said the Honourable Christian Paradis, Canadian Minister of International Development and La Francophonie. "Our support for this project, in collaboration with the Government of Israel, will help Ukrainian farmers and small and medium-sized businesses move from poverty to prosperity."

Rafael Barak, Israel's Ambassador to Canada, reflected upon its significance to Canada-Israel bilateral ties: "this agreement is another example of how Canada and Israel can leverage mutual expertise to help make the world a better place." He added, "international development is one of the key areas of cooperation—in addition to energy, security, scientific research and academic ties—that were highlighted in the Canada-Israel Strategic Partnership MOU signed last year during Prime Minister Harper's historic visit to Israel."

The project involves sharing experiences in growing, storage and marketing of agricultural products as well as teaching best practices in the implementation of new technologies in the agricultural industry. An important element of the new project is technical assistance and training programs for gardening professionals. Special attention is paid to female farmers and small entrepreneurs who face challenges to the technical development of their businesses due to a lack of funds.

The Project covers small and medium farming entrepreneurs in four regions of Ukraine—Zaporizhya, Mikolayev, Odessa, Kherson—and includes:

  • Provision of equipment, training, both practical and methodological assistance in establishing effective farming for farmers and households (involving Israeli and Canadian experts).
  • Establishment of credit and facilitate access of farmers to finance in order to allow greater opportunities for investment.
  • Assist local agricultural education institutions in the development of new courses on efficient and environmentally sustainable management of small farms Horticulture Development.
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For Media Inquiries:
Howard Fremeth
Director of Communications
(mobile) 613-324-0400
press@ottawa.mfa.gov.il

BACKGROUND
From 2008 to 2012, the Government of Canada has invested $10.3 million in Projects of Horticulture Development and in 5,000 small farming projects in Ukraine to improve the competitiveness of agricultural products. In 2011, the State of Israel, through its Ministry of Agriculture, jointly supported the implementation of this project with the provision of Israeli technicians to train Ukrainian farmers in the latest manufacturing technologies. The first project of cooperation between Canada, Israel and Ukraine in the field of promotion of small and medium farmers was completed in 2013.

In 2012, the governments of Canada and Israel signed a memorandum for cooperation in international development. According to this memorandum, DFATD (Canada) and MASHAV (Israel) shall execute joint projects, particularly in Ukraine. One of the priority areas for the cooperation is food security.

Based on the successful results of previous cooperation, Canada is funding the second phase of the "Ukraine Horticulture Business Development Project (UHBDP)" to further promote small and medium enterprises. The current project budget is $19,325,000 and covers a period from 2014 to 2021. It is expected that the project will assist over 30,000 farmers from the four most significant regions of Ukraine that deal with fruit and vegetable production: Kherson, Zaporizhzhya, Mykolayiv and Odessa.

An important element of the new project is technical assistance and training programs for gardening professionals. Special attention is paid to female farmers and small entrepreneurs who cannot reach the technical development of their businesses due to a lack of funds.

MASHAV shall provide training for professionals and small and medium businesses, and also cooperates with agricultural educational institutions in Ukraine. In addition, MASHAV will provide advisory services to financial institutions to expand the support structures and development.

Every Day People in concert to support MEDA's Bike to GROW

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B2G April 17 EventSource: "Every Day People In Concert On Sunny Slope Farm" on the Sunny Slope Farm website

On Sunny Slope Farm, a renowned event venue located in the Shenandoah Valley, will host a fundraiser for MEDA—Mennonite Economic Development Associates. The event, which will be open to the public and take place on Friday April 17th from 5 – 10 p.m., will feature music, beer and wine tastings, door prizes and food trucks. Proceeds from the festival will support women farmers and entrepreneurs in Ghana through MEDA's "Bike to GROW" volunteer initiative.

"MEDA is a great organization doing amazing things in the world," says Harry Jarrett, owner of On Sunny Slope Farm. "I'm happy to help spread the word about the important work MEDA does to create business solutions to poverty."

Jarrett founded On Sunny Slope Farm in 2013 and has since been featured as a recipient of the 2015 Couples' Choice Award by WeddingWire.com. A native of the Valley, Jarrett is a passionate supporter of MEDA's mission and values. "Harry has a huge heart for others and an entrepreneurial spirit that really sets him apart. We are thrilled that Harry has offered his venue to help us further our mission," says Ethan Eshbach, coordinator of engagement initiatives at MEDA. "This event will be a blast; it's an awesome opportunity to have fun and help others at the same time."

Ticket options for the event range from $15-$30 and are available at onsunnyslopefarm.com/events. Tickets include a meal and a raffle ticket. Alcoholic beverage tickets are optional.

About Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA)
MEDA is an international economic development organization whose mission is to create business solutions to poverty. Founded in 1953 by a group of Mennonite business professionals, we partner with the poor to start or grow small and medium-sized businesses in developing regions around the world. Our expertise includes a full range of economic development tools: financial services, improved technology, business training, better access to markets and equity investment. Our work most often focuses on women, youth and the rural poor. We believe that all people deserve the opportunity to earn a livelihood and that unleashing entrepreneurship is a powerful way to alleviate poverty.

About Bike to GROW
Sarah French and Mary Fehr are former MEDA interns from Canada. After their internship experiences in Nicaragua and Tanzania, Sarah and Mary felt compelled to support the work of MEDA, and specifically MEDA's work with women entrepreneurs. That's why in summer 2015, Sarah and Mary will bike across Canada—a distance of 8,710 km—to raise $150,000 for women in Ghana through MEDA's GROW project. Their journey, entitled Bike to GROW, represents the struggles that women in developing nations experience on a daily basis.