Special Programme web pages highlight progress in 30 countries
Launched back in 1994 by newly elected Director-General Jacques Diouf, it was conceived to sharpen FAO's focus on food security, by
all of which will contribute to raising rural incomes. The Programme emphasizes small-scale, simple and sustainable technologies chosen in collaboration with the local farmers.
So far, 30 countries are participating in Special Programme Pilot Phase activities. The Pilot Phase emphasizes four areas:
The last in this list - working with farmers to understand and, where possible, solve the problems that prevent them from producing more food - is crucial. In Burkina Faso, where the SPFS has been in place for three years, a rural radio station has been making programmes with local people to promote discussion of constraints.
Extension of SPFS activities is taking place gradually, with several countries now starting work at new sites and diversifying into new activities, such as aquaculture and poultry rearing.
Work with women farmers is a high priority for the Special Programme. In many developing countries women produce well over half the basic foods. Despite this they only benefit from around 5 percent of agricultural extension services. In Nepal more than 800 women farmers - at 19 SPFS pilot sites - have been trained in quality seed production. Good quality seed alone can increase production by 15 to 25 percent.
The SPFS News page will be regularly updated to keep readers informed of progress in the field. External contributions are welcome.
1 April 1998