Manitoba

Rising pork prices take bite out of MCC canning project

Soaring pork prices this year are eating into the Mennonite Central Committee's annual canning project, which sends Manitoba pork to people in need.

Mennonite Central Committee cans thousands of kilograms of Manitoba pork for people in need

Rising pork prices hit MCC canning project

8 years ago
Duration 1:36
Soaring pork prices are eating into Mennonite Central Committee's annual canning project, which sends Manitoba pork to people in need.

Soaring pork prices this year are eating into the Mennonite Central Committee's annual canning project, which sends Manitoba pork to people in need.

Since Wednesday, 350 volunteers have been working around the clock at the MCC's mobile canning facility in Winkler, Man., to process 19,000 kilograms of meat by day's end Saturday.

Much of this year's supply of canned and boiled pork will help feed people in Haiti, Nicaragua and North Korea. About 10 per cent will go to Winnipeg Harvest and food banks in southeast Manitoba.

"It can make a big difference because [it is] high in protein, so it's a good mixture when they mix it in with their regular beans or rice," John Martens, chair of the organizing committee in Manitoba, told CBC News on Thursday.

"We always say that one of these cans will feed about 10 people for a meal."

But Martens said this year, the costs have jumped by $15,000 compared to last year.

"This year the pork prices are definitely high, and so our cost of production is about $80,000 for just our product that we're buying, so then there's all the other added costs of getting the canner up here and all that," he said.

PED outbreak partly to blame

Martens said pork prices in the United States jumped by upwards of 10 per cent this past spring, in part because of an outbreak of porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) that swept much of the hog industry.

The MCC has reached only half of its $100,000 fundraising goal to date, said Martens, who added that the bills will roll in next week.

"We hope that people have a heart for this project and that they open their wallets and give to us," he said.

Volunteer Peter Reimer said he has seen how the MCC's work has helped nourish preschool and school-age children in under-developed countries.

"I had the opportunity to go to Guatemala and El Salvador one summer and meet people first-hand," he said.

"The teachers there were saying if they all of a sudden closed down the school for a week or two because of different reasons, the kids would come back and they could see that the kids hadn't eaten for the most part while they were home. So there is a huge nutritional factor even in the schools there."

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