NORQUAY, SK (January 22, 2013) – The Kernels of Hope agricultural project has raised at least $410,000 to benefit farmers in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The endeavor has raised more than $2 million for farmers in three African nations since it started in 2005.
Farmers in several Canadian provinces donate their time to grow wheat and canola crops on a portion of their land that is set aside to be “purchased” by virtual farmer donors. Those donations pay the costs of rent, seed, chemicals, insurance, and custom work.
When the crops are sold, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) matches the grain sales revenue on a four-to-one ratio to reach the final donation amount. That money is distributed to the intended recipients through the Canadian Food Grains Bank and World Relief Canada.
The donated funds supply high-quality seeds, farm implements, and other items.
This past year, the farmers cleared $82,000 after expenses before the matching donation, said Covenanter Ray “the grain guy” Baloun, who initiated and now oversees the project.
“The average farmer in the prairies got a great volume of wheat with excellent quality and a low volume of canola,” Baloun said. “It was a good quality though! For grain, that was priced right during harvest, and for awhile after the dollars per bushel were terrific!”
In previous years, money from the Kernels project was used to provide implements and other needed supplies to farmers in South Sudan and Liberia. Kernels of Hope launched in 2005 and raised a total of $69,000 that year.
“The change we are helping is true change that has the potential to put many people on their feet for more than one generation,” said Baloun. “This project continues to amaze and to humble me with the support that we draw together for such a worthy cause.”