6 March 2003, Rome -- China, Nigeria and FAO on Thursday signed a $22.7 million agreement to share knowledge and experience between developing countries under a programme of South-South Cooperation.

The initiative represents the largest programme of its kind and forms part of a global initiative, the South-South Cooperation Programme, designed to strengthen collaboration between countries at different stages of development.

The agreement was signed by representatives of the two governments and FAO at a ceremony held at the UN agency's headquarters in Rome.

China will work with the Government of Nigeria, providing 20 experts and over 500 field technicians to work alongside Nigerian experts over a four year period. Full costs of the programme will be met by the Government of Nigeria.

Working together, the two countries will implement activities aimed at safeguarding food security including water control projects, production systems to boost crops and diversification of production. Most of the Chinese technicians will live in the rural communities in which they are to work.

The South-South Cooperation programme will be implemented within the framework of Nigeria's National Special Programme for Food Security (NSPFS), developed together with FAO, which began in January 2002 with government funding of $45.2 million.

The programme in Nigeria spans all 36 states and touches some 23 000 rural households.

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