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Director General  José Graziano da Silva

FAO and Swaziland launch project to improve agriculture sector

Projects aim to boost nutrition, food security and commercial sweet potato crops

FAO Director-General, José Graziano da Silva hands over the project agreements to Swaziland's Minister for Agriculture, Hon. Moses Vilakati at the launching ceremony of the lfour projects aimed at improving the agriculture sector.

10 September, Mbabane - FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva and the Swaziland Minister for Agriculture, Honourable Moses Vilakati launched four projects aimed at improving the agriculture sector.

The projects will support household climate-smart, market-led fruit and vegetable production as well as improve nutrition and household food security using the farmer field school approach.

Another will focus on commercialisation of sweet potatoes and the final one will help  the Swaziland government to formulate the Malkerns Agriculture Town Planning Scheme – the first of its kind in the country. This project aims at developing a policy framework and a legal instrument to govern agriculture in urban settings in Swaziland.

Graziano da Silva assured the government of Swaziland of FAO’s continuous support towards ensuring food and nutritional security for all.

“The projects  and many other initiatives undertaken in partnership with the government in recent years are indeed only catalysts for further action,” he said. ”Achieving food and nutrition security is within reach, we can end hunger in a single generation – our generation.”

Moses Vilakati noted that climate change’s expected impacts are among the major challenges facing the country and had already led to unpredictable weather patterns adversely affecting agricultural and livestock production.

He expressed gratitude to FAO for the technical assistance it was providing in the area of Conservation Agriculture and Climate-Smart Agriculture.

2015 International Year of Soils

While appreciating local efforts being made to improve soil quality, Graziano da Silva encouraged the use of environmentally beneficial crop production techniques such as zero or minimum tillage that preserve soil nutrients and moisture while also boosting productivity.

“Soils don’t have a voice, and few people speak out for them. Soil constitutes the foundation of vegetation, and agriculture and forests need  it to grow. Apart from growing food, humans need soils for animal feed, fibre, fuel and much more; its preservation is essential for food security and our sustainable future. We must manage soils sustainably”, the FAO Director-General said.

Visit to Swazi farmer’s garden an eye opener

Prior to the launch, Graziano da Silva had an opportunity to meet farmers at Motshane Rural Development centre. The farmers had an opportunity to demonstrate how liming – to reduce soil acidity - is done at  Philip Shabangu’s homestead.

 Shabangu, a retiree, said he was mentoring his two sons who had decided to go into farming after training in in electrical engineering and carpentry. He said he had been able to go to school thanks to the fact that his parents took agriculture seriously and thus managed to raise the required money by selling their surplus produce.

“We have challenges though, for example the price of inputs is high. Farmers also may need training on improved farming methods, especially with the changes in weather patterns that we see these days. Additionally, we still have challenges with soil quality that hamper our ability to produce more”, he said.

The 2015 International Year of Soils

Links:

IYS

DIG IT!

The Secrets of Soil

Educators Guide

Contacts:

Edward.Ogolla@fao.org, Communication FAO Sub-regional Office (Harare)

Liliane.Kambirigi@fao.org, Communication FAO Regional Office (Accra)

 

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