The Irish Farmers’ Association will team up with Concern Worldwide and Self Help Africa at this year’s Ploughing Championships to raise funds for the relief effort in famine-torn East Africa. IFA President John Bryan said, “The farming community has always been very generous in supporting the work of charities in East Africa. Concern will use the funds raised to deal with the immediate impact of the famine. Self Help Africa will use their contribution to develop long-term sustainable agriculture.”
The IFA President encouraged farm families to continue to do what they can to assist and he said there would be an opportunity to contribute directly through the IFA initiative at the Ploughing or by donating to an AIB account at the Irish Farm Centre. “Tom Arnold has given a commitment that 100% of the monies given to Concern will be directed immediately to their efforts in Somalia. A portion of the funds will go to Self Help Africa, IFA’s chosen charity.”
Tom Arnold, Chief Executive of Concern Worldwide, said “We are very grateful to the IFA for this initiative; this crisis is getting worse and is rapidly descending into a catastrophe. We have been working in Somalia for the past 25 years. In response to the crisis, we are now helping over 200,000 people with basic health services, food or vouchers to buy food in their local market and shelter materials. However, it is clear that we need to reach more people and the money raised by the IFA at the Ploughing Championships will help us do that.”
Ray Jordan, Chief Executive of Self Help Africa said, “Irish farmers know that if we are ever going to break the cycle of famine in sub-Saharan Africa, we must look at the root causes, and provide lasting remedies for the millions of rural poor who hold the solution to famine in their hands. Farming is the key to ending poverty and hunger in Africa.”
“Under 5% of cultivated land is irrigated – yet with simple, practical support, most farm land is capable of growing much, much more. Self Help Africa has been working with Africa’s farmers to achieve that, and is grateful to Ireland’s farmers for their continuing support for this work,” he added.
IFA Treasurer JJ Kavanagh said that a dedicated bank account (no 04408444 Sort Code : 93-36-27) will be open at the AIB branch in the Irish Farm Centre for the month of September to allow members of the farming community make donations.