20 February 2003, Tripoli/Rome -- Agreements to finance agricultural projects in Sahelian and Saharan countries were signed today between Libya and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The agreements totalled more than $21 million.

The first agreement, part of the FAO Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS), will advance agricultural production and enhance food security, alleviating hunger and poverty in five African states. Libya will fund the $9.3 million project. The SPFS programme, currently operational in 74 countries, aims to ensure access to adequate food and help poor farm communities increase food production and productivity.

The funds will be divided among five member countries of the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD) which works for the development and stability of its 16 member countries. Projects in Burkina Faso and Mali will each receive $2 million in funding, the project in Sudan is set to receive $1.9 million and Niger and Chad will each receive $1.7 million for their projects.

The second agreement, Development of a Seed and Propagation Material System, is designed to develop and modernize the agriculture sector in Libya. It will improve national food security by enhancing the organization, promotion and diffusion of massive seed production. It will help develop seed policy, legislation, regulation and standards, while advancing capacity building for a sustained seed programme. Libya has committed
$11 835 730 and an additional 1 369 673 in Libyan dinars to fund the projects through trust fund arrangements with FAO.

Dr. Mohamed Al-Madani Al-Azhari, Secretary General of CEN-SAD Community and the Director of the Seeds Centre signed the agreements at the Secretariat of CEN-SAD in Tripoli on behalf of the Government of Libya. Mr. Henri Carsalade, Assistant Director-General of the Technical Cooperation Department signed for FAO in Rome.

John Riddle
Information Officer, FAO
+(39) 06 570 53259