Director-General and Congo Minister discuss political commitment to fight and defeat hunger
4 December 2013, Rome, Italy - FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva met today with Rigobert Maboundou,Minister for Agriculture and Livestock of the Republic of Congo.
During the meeting, Graziano da Silva thanked Minister Maboundou for his “exemplary work as the chairman of the Regional Conference for Africa,” as his mandate drew to a close. “I am very pleased for the time spent as the chair of the Regional Conference and happy to see the results achieved,” the Minister said.
They also discussed the great achievement of the Africa Solidarity Trust Fund, launched during FAO's 2012 Regional Conference for Africa held in the Republic of Congo, when the host, President Denis Sassou Nguesso, called for greater solidarity between African nations to fight hunger.
Administered by FAO, the fund which will be operational in January 2014, supports Africa-led, Africa-owned initiatives in the framework of the African Union's Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), to boost agricultural productivity and food security in the region especially in the Sahel and in the Horn of Africa Graziano da Silva promoted this goal and praised the efforts of the region’s leaders’ to implement the outcome of the Brazzaville Conference, proof of political commitment at the highest level to defeat hunger and poverty in the region.
The Minister also announced that Congo will be launching a land reform program, for which Graziano da Silva already confirmed FAO’s support. The Minister highlighted that one of the aims of the reform is to attract more foreign investment and make sure rights of everyone is respected when it comes to land acquisition and distribution.
Minister Maboundou also pointed out that FAO had also agreed to support the country’s development strategy for cassava, one of its main crops, especially through initiatives for pest eradication, increased crop productivity and small processing.
The agricultural census programme, strongly supported by the Government of Congo through FAO technical assistance, was another issue discussed during the meeting. Two allotments amounting to 4.6 million USD have been made available to FAO for the implementation phase.