Wheat farmers asked to help with hunger relief

Posted by Josette Dunn on 14th February 2011

This harvest, wheat farmers are being asked to spare a small portion of their crop to help feed Australian’s in need.Foodbank Australia, the country’s largest food relief organisation, has partnered with CBH Grain to provide growers with the opportunity to make a donation from this year’s production. The aim is to urgently source a supply of grain for processing and manufacturing into key staple foods, such as breakfast cereal and pasta. This will be distributed to the charities around Australia who feed the hungry during times of personal and community crisis.

In a simple but crucial scheme, growers are being asked to nominate a tonnage they’re willing to donate, either at the time of initial delivery or out of the warehouse, thereby entering into a donation contract with CBH.

According to John Webster, CEO of Foodbank Australia: “We are the food pantry for Australia’s charities. Staples such as breakfast cereal and pasta form the backbone of our food provision to those providing front line food relief. But we cannot always rely on getting enough of these from our traditional food rescue channels to meet the need.”

Foodbank has a program whereby it works collaboratively with food producers who donate ingredients and services to produce the essentials needed for nutritious meals. Due to this program, Foodbank had supplies of pasta on hand in its Queensland warehouse in January which proved to be the perfect food for flood victims with meager cooking facilities.

“Foodbank has annual targets of 1,200 tonnes of breakfast cereal and 1,100 tonnes of pasta,” said John. “We have all the other ingredients and manufacturing services lined up so grain is the final missing link in achieving our targets.”

Commenting on his company’s commitment to the program, Peter Ainsworth Domestic Marketing Manager of CBH Group, explained: “We are seeking the involvement of growers to build an ‘asset base’ of milling grain which can be used to produce the staple foods Foodbank needs. If the donated grain is not of a suitable grade then CBH will swap it, at equivalent market values, for grades which can be processed by Foodbank’s collaborative partners.”

“CBH understands that food security is a big challenge in Australia and we believe that supporting Foodbank is a constructive way in which we can use our industry skills and knowledge to make a difference,” added Peter.

David Crombie, immediate past President of the National Farmers Federation and current member of the Board of Foodbank in Queensland, commented: “This is a great project as it enables individual growers from across the country to come together and support Australians in need. I am aware that many grain growers are themselves facing difficulty this harvest and encourage all grain farmers with a reasonable season to get involved.”

Growers in South Australia, Victoria, NSW and Queensland can contact CBH Grain Grower Services for more information by calling 1800 107 759. Growers in Western Australia should call 1800 199 083.