FAO Director-General meets with Somalia’s Minister for Agriculture
26 February 2014, Rome – FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva met with Abdi Ahmed Mohamed, Minister of Agriculture of the Somali Federal Government, at FAO headquarters today.
Graziano da Silva thanked the Minister for his Government’s continued support for FAO’s work in Somalia and welcomed its efforts to improve the economy, food security, peace and state building through its engagement and endorsement of the New Deal Compact for fragile states. “It is time to move from emergency to development”, he said.
The FAO chief and Minister Mohamed discussed the significant steps made towards improving food security in the country, where the food insecure population has gone down from 3.7 million people in August 2011 to less than a million by December 2013.
They also commented on the successful start of FAO’s Near East Regional Conference (NERC-32).
“This was a very fruitful meeting. We have discussed the issues that concern agriculture in Somalia and I have asked Graziano’s support in our efforts to reconstruct our country and the agriculture sector”, the Minister said.
“FAO is the major partner of the Ministry of Agriculture. It plays a crucial role in assisting national institutions to gain capacity to lead the formulation of plans and the implementation of projects and programmes,” he added.
“It is our intention to make the relationship with FAO the model for our relations with other UN agencies, transparency and accountability being the two basic pillars of such relations,” he explained.
“There is a huge task ahead of us to build the institutions required for agriculture recovery,” the Minister told Graziano da Silva.
“The situation has improved a lot in terms of food security from the last crisis that we had. Most of the farmers have gone back to their farms and production has restarted, but the gap is still very wide.
“There are a lot of internally displaced persons (IDPs) that need to go back to their farms, there is a collapse of infrastructure, particularly in irrigation and road infrastructure”, he told the Director General. “Until we have tackled those issues, recovery will be a very arduous task”, the Minister added.
“The Strategic Plan for Agriculture 2013-2016 requires the involvement of stakeholders at the international level aligned with national priorities”.
Both agreed on the importance of continuously supporting capacity building as a key element for the country’s recovery, and the Minister underlined that “FAO will only be able to develop programmes if there is a strong Ministry of Agriculture in the country.”
Graziano da Silva encouraged the Minister to actively participate in the Country Programming Framework (CPF) for 2014-2017 which is being finalized now with focus on three main strategic pillars: resilience, institutional capacity development, and policy support and information for action.
Watch the video interview with Abdi Ahmed Mohamed, Minister of Agriculture of the Somali Federal Government.