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Helping Myanmar after Nargis

Italy, FAO, Myanmar sign $5.2 million programme to boost long-term food security

Photo: AFP
Tilling machines can speed up agricultural chores
28 May 2009, Rome - A three-year Italian-funded FAO programme to improve the long-term food security of 32 000 poor fishing and farming families in Myanmar has been agreed, FAO said today. 

The programme will assist Myanmar to develop sustainable small-scale fisheries and aquaculture livelihoods in coastal mangrove ecosystems and improve rice production. Many of the beneficiaries are victims of last year’s devastating cyclone Nargis that killed around 150 000 people.   

"All together, the livelihoods of over 32 000 households will be improved through these three projects,” said Shin Imao, FAO’s Representative in Myanmar.  

“These households join the over 112 000 households that FAO assisted between June 2008 and May 2009, as part of its $17 million cyclone Nargis assistance project and the hundreds of thousands of other families in various parts of Myanmar that FAO is working with and has worked with during its thirty years in this country." 

Giuseppe Cinti, Italy’s Ambassador in Myanmar, said Italy had already contributed $8 million to Myanmar’s recovery effort, with $6 million going to FAO-implemented projects. He said the new programme “will be implemented, with the aim of giving the people of Myanmar the tools for their empowerment.” 

Under the three projects, small-scale farmers and fishers will be helped to improve production through the introduction of modern technology. In addition, new employment should be generated and incomes improved by increasing the availability of quality seeds and community-based water management and reviving ecosystems.  

The agreement was signed at a ceremony in Yangon last weekend attended by Htay Oo, Minister for Agriculture and Irrigation of Myanmar and Giuseppe Cinti, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Italy in Myanmar. 

The Minister commended FAO for its leadership in coordinating agriculture livelihood recovery activities of many partners in the post-Cyclone Nargis period, which contributed to the development of the transition programme funded by Italy.