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Daily Archives: January 18, 2019

PA Announces Plans to Maintain Food Security Programs Through February Despite Federal Government Shutdown :: exploreClarion.com

PA Announces Plans to Maintain Food Security Programs Through February Despite Federal Government Shutdown :: exploreClarion.com

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Pennsylvania has announced its plan to maintain food security programs through February despite the federal government shutdown.

Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Teresa Miller on Monday announced that February benefits for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients will be dispersed on January 18, 2019, and will be available for use by January 19, 2019.

The early payment follows an announcement from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) notifying states that benefits will be fully funded for the month of February, but benefits must be paid early.

“SNAP is the nation’s most important anti-hunger program. Without it, 1.8 million Pennsylvanians would have greater trouble affording food for themselves and their families,” said Secretary Miller. “This early payment allows us to get SNAP recipients their benefits for February, but they will have to make this payment last for an undefined period as the shutdown continues.”

On January 8, 2019, DHS received notice from the USDA that February SNAP benefits will be fully funded, but that these benefits needed to be issued by January 20. DHS worked closely with its vendors and will be able to issue the February benefits to electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards on January 18. This early payment is SNAP recipients’ February benefit and will be the only benefit payment SNAP recipients will receive for the month of February. Recipients will not receive a payment on their regularly scheduled February payment date. DHS is sending a letter and/or email to SNAP recipients to notify them of this change.

Payments beyond February will be determined based on the availability of USDA funds. DHS is awaiting information from the USDA on plans for March benefits should the partial federal government shutdown continue.

“The partial federal government shutdown has real implications for millions of people in Pennsylvania and around the country who use SNAP to keep food on the table,” said Secretary Miller. “Changes in the way people get their benefits and uncertainty regarding future benefits creates confusion and concern that should be avoidable. The federal government must come to a solution so people who already face food insecurity do not continue to be caught in the middle of a situation that they did not create.”

DHS will continue to process applications for all benefits during the shutdown. Recipients should continue to report changes and submit any semi-annual reviews or renewals they receive during this period to not risk an interruption of their benefits in the future.

Clients with questions about their benefits can contact their local County Assistance Office or can call the statewide customer service center at 1-877-395-8930. Clients who reside in Philadelphia should call 1-215-560-7226.

For more information about DHS and its programs, visit www.dhs.pa.gov.

Source

http://www.exploreclarion.com/2019/01/15/pa-announces-plans-to-maintain-food-security-programs-through-february-despite-federal-government-shutdown/

How is religion linked to food security? – Food Security and Food Justice

How is religion linked to food security? – Food Security and Food Justice

Food security is such a complex matter that incorporates many different factors. One of the not so obvious factors that relate to food is religion. Food security is most significantly impacted by non-secular factors such as a country’s economic status, environmental/geographical matters, political stability etc., but faith-based links still have their contributions. These contributions differ depending on the country at hand and their individual conditions.

How does religion increase food security in the UK?

There are religious outreaches within the UK that aim to alleviate hunger at both local and national levels. At a nationwide level is The Trussel Trust. This a UK charity that coordinates the only nationwide network of food banks in the country and is founded on Christian principles and inspired by the words of Jesus. They have over 1,200 centres across the UK and in 2017/18 gave 1,332,952 emergency food supplies to the hungry.

At a more local level is the Christian outreach City Church Sheffield, which organises the Jubilee Food Bank. Their aim is to help those who are struggling to buy enough food for themselves or their families’ through food boxes which are delivered to people in need.

Also within the UK, Sikh’s offer the service of langar. This is a community kitchen within every Gurdwara offering free hot meals each day for anyone and everyone. Thousands of people are fed through this Gurdwara service in the UK. Furthermore, two Sikh Langar charities have even received the ‘Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service’, demonstrating the Sikh religion’s impact and contributions to feeding the hungry in the UK.

Moreover, religious leaders and faith groups within the UK have also taken action through liaising with political figures to deal with the root causes of hunger. For example, in 2014 over 40 Anglican bishops and 600 church leaders signed a letter attempting to deal with causes of food poverty, including low wages, rising food prices, and an inadequate welfare benefit safety net.

It is important to note that these organisations and provisions do not discriminate on the basis of religion, race, gender or age and will help any type of person that requires it. It goes without saying that food security is increased for many people due to this religious help – even if it is only temporary.

What about other, less developed countries?

However, just because in certain countries religion makes a helpful difference to the levels of food security it doesn’t mean that is the case worldwide.

For example, India is an example of a densely populated country with much higher levels of poverty than England and food security there is much lower despite the strong frequency of religious people and groups. According to this UN report, a shocking 194 million people starved for food in 2014-2015 in India. This is the case even with a vast number of religious organisations and practices trying to alleviate food insecurity. For example, the Golden Temple serves over 50,000 free meals every single day through langar, an immense amount but still not enough to put a dent in the levels of hunger present.

It must be questioned if religion in India is actually hindering food security rather than helping it. Dietary restrictions are a large part of Indian religions, for example, Hindus do not consume beef and Muslims forbid the consumption of pork– these are the two most prominent religions in India. Nevertheless, there are over 5 million stray cows freely roaming the streets of India. If there were no religious dietary restrictions could people in developing countries have increased levels of food security? Would they have easier access to food?

Of course, religion is by no means the sole cause of hunger in India but it is potentially contributing to the problem more than it is helping, unlike in other countries such as the UK. Should people in developing countries abide by religious dietary restrictions if so many of them are struggling to feed themselves? This would be a very drastic viewpoint to hold but is perhaps worth thinking about. Political instability, poverty, agricultural problems, and many other factors all contribute to food insecurity in developing countries and in comparison to them, religious dietary restrictions are only a minor contributor.

Globally, conflict is a major cause of food insecurity. What is often a major cause of conflict? Religion. Religious extremists can contribute to conflict escalation. They see radical measures as necessary to fulfil God’s wishes. Using Syria an example, the last few years has seen the country in turmoil with religious extremists playing a large part in this. Only last year it was found that over 10.5 million of Syria’s inhabitants were food insecure. Iraq is another country where there has been major conflict relating to religious ideology and according to the World Food Programme almost 75 percent of children under the age of 15 are working to help feed their families instead of attending school. There is no denying that the religious aspects of the conflicts within these countries, and others like them, may have significantly affected these statistics.

So what does this mean for food security?

Ultimately, although religion may in some places improve food-related conditions, it is not a religious obligation to do so and responsibility for food security should be at the hands of the state – not religions within the state. Help that religion provides is a bonus that comes from religion being present, not a preconceived obligation. Developing countries need much more help than religion alone could offer, and perhaps if some of their other internal issues improve, such as poverty or religious extremism, food insecurity may reduce. Even in more developed countries such as the UK, there is still much that needs to be done to increase food security despite the help that religion provides.

Non-secular efforts are what ultimately needs to be made to ameliorate the unacceptable levels of food insecurity that are present worldwide.

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Green Imperative: $1.1bn loan to create Jobs, food security- Zainab — Nigerian Pilot News

Green Imperative: $1.1bn loan to create Jobs, food security- Zainab — Nigerian Pilot News

Minister of Finance, Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, has stated that the $ 1
billion loan facility under the ‘Green Imperative’, which is one of the
products of the diversification initiatives of the Federal Government, will
create massive jobs, food security, and food self-sufficiency in all the 774
Local Government Areas of the nation.
Ahmed stated this yesterday in a statement signed by the Special Adviser
to the Minister of Finance on Media and Communications, Paul Ella Abechi,
during official launch of the project by the Vice President, Prof Yemi
Osinbajo, at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
Meanwhile, expressing optimism about the positive results the loan will
yield under the ‘Green Imperative’ initiative in the agric sector, she said
there is no doubt that the project will transform economic landscape of the
country.
She maintained that nothing will deter President Muhammadu Buhari from
continuing with the diversification drive that is already yielding positive
results within three years, especially through the agricultural sector.
She also commended the Vice President’s commitment towards securing
the loan from Brazil following his personally held meetings with Team of
Experts from Brazil and his strong support for the project which has made
the launching of it a reality including the resilience demonstrated by the
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbe, who had
personally led Nigerian delegations to Brazil to initiate and develop the
project with the Brazilian ’think tank’ and relevant stakeholders.  
According to her the ‘Green imperative’ was designed to promote
agricultural mechanization, create employment opportunities for the
energetic youth and help achieve food self-sufficiency and added that more
details about the project will be explained by the Minister of Agriculture and
Rural Development.

She said: “The project we are launching today will be implemented with a
total loan package of US$1.1billion majorly from the Brazilian Government
which will be disbursed in four tranches over a period of two years.
“l have no doubt that this project will help to ensure food self – sufficiency,
create more employment opportunities for our teeming population and also
help transform the economic landscape of Nigeria.
“It is pertinent to state here that greater percentage of the loan will be
provided in kind through the supply of agricultural machineries and
implements in form of Completely Knocked Down (CKD) parts.
“This arrangement is expected to reduce fiduciary risks and create more
employment opportunities for our teeming youth and those that will be
involved in assembling the machineries and implements.
“Another important benefit of the project is that its implementation will be
purely private sector led in all its operations including the assembling of the
machineries/ implements, operation of the service centres and the agro-
processing centres.
“The project will be implemented in all the 774 Local Government Areas of
the country in phases. Let me use this opportunity to sensitize the Nigerian
private sector, youth and women to get ready for business. The selection of
the participants in this project will be done on merit as our concern is
nothing but the success of the project. We will ensure that participation is
devoid of politics and any form of nepotism.”
The Minister also commended the Brazilian government’s support and
commitment to the project.
“Let me at this point thank the Government and people of Brazil for their
support and commitment to this project. Nigeria and Brazil have similar
climatic and soil conditions that make Brazilian agricultural implements
easily adaptable in Nigeria. I understand that a tractor manufactured in
Brazil in 1946 is still in use till today.
“This is the kind of technology that we will need in this country. I do hope
such rugged tractors are what you will deploy for this project. I will like to
express my appreciation to other partners like the Deutche Bank and

Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit
(ICIEC) for their support in this project”, she stated.

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