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Eataly-FAO collaboration bears fruit

Jars of cactus pear jam produced in Ethiopia have now reached consumers in Rome, thanks to partnership effort

21 April 2015, Rome - Jars of cactus pear jam produced in Ethiopia thanks to a partnership between FAO and Italian food store Eataly have reached the shelves of the  store  in Rome.

FAO and Eataly supported the women's cooperative from Ethiopia's Tigray region in producing over 1,500 kg of cactus pear jam that are fully in line with both Ethiopian and European food safety standards. The marmalade, packaged in 4,000 jars, is now being retailed by Eataly in Rome.

The jam jars are an example of the powerful role that such creative partnerships can make in empowering family farmers and facilitating their access to global markets.

"We are here to recognize the role of family farmers and especially the role of women who are key to achieving food security in Africa," said FAO Director-General Graziano da Silva at an event held at the Eataly outlet  to acknowledge the successful implementation of the partnership, also supported by the Italian Development Cooperation agency.

"FAO is grateful to Eataly which is giving the opportunity to this product to be distributed as a gourmet product here in Europe," he added.

FAO and Eataly joined forces in 2013 to support family farmers around the globe in boosting their production and finding ways to reach new overseas customers. The work with the women's cooperative is one example of this collaboration.

According to Lapo Pistelli, deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Italy, "these little jars hold many messages, first of all the cooperation behind them, between FAO, Eataly, the Italian Government and the Government of Ethiopia; the role of women in building sustainable models and in defense of the right to food; finally the opportunity for small farmers to reach the international market with quality products."

Ethiopia's Ambassodor to Itay, Mulugeta Alemseged Gessese, highlighted how this kind of work can open new horizons and inspire small-scale producers in developing countries to aim high. "This is a breakthrough project. Who could imagine that a small group of women from a remote village could get to the European market", he said.

"It is a positive message for all women in Ethiopia, since it shows that it is possible for them to access the international market and get revenues, provided they are given proper assistance, training and know how," he added.

The teamwork with Eataly is an example of FAO's focus on partnerships.  Since 2013, the Organization has signed over 60 agreements with a wide range of different stakeholders, including the private sector, civil society, non-governmental organizations, cooperatives and academia.

Photo: ©FAO/Giulio Napolitano
FAO's José Graziano da Silva and Lapo Pistelli, Italy's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, examine jam made by the women's cooperative.

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