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Press Release 99/71 C/6

MADAGASCAR, VIET NAM AND FAO SIGN AGRICULTURAL ASSISTANCE ACCORD AS PART OF THE SPECIAL PROGRAMME FOR FOOD SECURITY


Rome, 29 November -- The governments of Viet Nam and Madagascar today signed an agreement with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to send Vietnamese agricultural experts to assist the agricultural sector in Madagascar, the UN Agency announced. This cooperative accord will put the technical assistance services of Viet Nam to work in Madagascar for three years, continuing a spirit of cooperation, between African countries and South Asia.

South-South Cooperation provides an opportunity for strengthening cooperation among developing countries which are at different stages of development, with the support of interested donor countries and the FAO. It operates under the framework of FAO's Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS), helping countries benefit from the experience and expertise of more advanced developing countries. The initiative was launched at the beginning of 1997 by Dr. Jacques Diouf who was re-elected FAO Director-General for a second six-year term, Saturday 13 November 1999.

According to the newly-signed agreement, Vietnam "will assist Madagascar in identifying, formulating and executing a series of small rural projects tailored to the specific needs of Madagascar."

These projects will specifically focus on eliminating socio-economic obstacles to the development of sustainable food production. The effort will be funded by the governments of both countries and FAO.

The Special Programme for Food Security is operational in 51 countries -- 30 in Africa, 12 in Asia and the Near East, 6 in Latin America, 2 in Europe and 1 in Oceania -- which represents more than 60 percent of the world's poorest countries. There are additional SPFS projects under formulation in 25 other countries.

Signing the tripartite agreement were: Viet Nam Ambassador Tran Minh Quoc, Madagascar Ambassador Georges Ruphin, and FAO Assistant Director-General for Technical Cooperation, A. Regnier.


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