Morocco fielding experts to help improve food security in Niger
Countries sign second South-South Cooperation agreement
10 March 2005, Rome - Morocco will send 27 farming experts and technicians to Niger to work with local experts, as part of an agreement between the two countries, the Islamic Development Bank and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
The agreement is part of FAO's South-South Cooperation Programme, a global initiative that aims to strengthen cooperation among developing countries at different stages of development to improve agricultural productivity and ensure access to food for all.
The Moroccan experts will work in Niger for three years, contributing their knowledge in areas such as water management, crop intensification and farming systems diversification, with emphasis on animal husbandry and small-scale fisheries.
History of cooperation
"With this agreement, the Government of Morocco demonstrates once again its commitment to helping other African countries improve their food security," said Henri Carsalade, FAO Assistant Director-General, Technical Cooperation Department, during a signing ceremony at FAO headquarters in Rome yesterday, attended by His Excellency Tajeddine Baddou, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco to the UN agencies in Rome, who signed on behalf of his Government. The Ambassador added that "by sharing their strong practical experience with farmers and fishers in Niger, the Moroccan experts will contribute greatly, as they have in the past, to increasing productivity and improving access to food in the communities in which they serve."
Morocco previously fielded farming experts to Niger as part of a three-year South-South Cooperation agreement initiated in 1998. Moroccan experts have also been sent to Burkina Faso under a similar agreement.
Sharing knowledge and costs
The South-South Cooperation Programme is part of FAO's Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS) designed to improve lives in some of the world's poorest countries by rapidly increasing food production, improving people's access to food and reducing their vulnerability to climatic events such as drought and floods.
Today, the SPFS is present in more than 100 countries, and the South-South Cooperation Programme is being implemented in 31 countries, with over 700 experts and technicians currently working in farming communities.
One of the programme's strengths is the low costs involved. They are shared between donor and recipient countries, funding institutions or third donor countries and FAO.
Mr Carsalade highlighted the continued commitment of the Islamic Development Bank to the South-South Cooperation Programme. The Bank is supporting the Niger initiative with a contribution of US$400 000.
"Agreements such as this allow recipient countries to benefit from the relevant strengths, experience and expertise of other developing countries in a pragmatic and cost-effective manner and play a vital role in promoting solidarity among developing countries," said Mr Carsalade.
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