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Director General  José Graziano da Silva

FAO and South Africa gear up for World Forestry Congress

South Africa’s Agriculture Minister highlights the role of local communities in forest protection

FAO Director-General with South Africa’s Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

6 October 2014, Rome - “As the first of its kind in the African continent, we want the World Forestry Congress to be not only a success but a trendsetter,” South Africa’s Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Senzini Zokwana, said today.

Remarks were made after a meeting with FAO Director-General Graziano da Silva in which they discussed the preparation for the 14th World Forestry Congress to be held in September 2015 in Durban, South Africa.

The congress will bring together the global forestry community of experts and policy makers to analyze and address current key issues on the utilization and preservation of forests, including hunger prevention and mitigation of climate impacts.

“We have one objective: promoting the role of forestry in denting hunger and unemployment”, Minister Zokwana said.

“We also need to identify and promote all the challenges of forestry, including fires and recognize that communities must form part of forestry protection,” he added.

Government’s commitment on food security

Da Silva congratulated Minister Zokwana for his recent appointment in the new South African government and welcomed him in his first visit to FAO headquarters in Rome.

He also noted how good governmental programmes helped keeping the level of undernourishment below 5 percent in South Africa for the past 20 years, in accordance with the World Food Summit target.

“There is a wide campaign by the government to make sure that smallholder farmers are assisted to plant food in their gardens and to make sure that commercial farmers continue producing,” the Minister reported.  “Plus, there are other government commercial processes to ensure that those who cannot plant or produce are correctly assisted to ensure food security,” he added.

The Minister noted that “families are encouraged to associate and form cooperatives,” adding that “No child must grow without all the necessary nutrients.”