Tunisia sending farming experts to Togo
South-South Cooperation agreement will help Togo take pilot food security activities nationwide
22 April 2005, Rome - Tunisia is sending 20 farming experts and technicians to Togo to work with local experts, as part of an agreement signed today between the two countries and FAO.
The agreement is part of FAO's South-South Cooperation Programme, a global initiative that aims to strengthen cooperation among developing countries at different stages of development to improve agricultural productivity and ensure access to food for all.
The Tunisian experts will work in Togo for a period of three years, contributing their knowledge in areas such as water management, crop intensification and farming systems diversification, with emphasis on animal husbandry and small-scale fisheries.
"The assistance provided by Tunisia comes at a critical stage, as Togo prepares to move from the pilot activities carried out with support from FAO's Technical Cooperation Programme towards the formulation and implementation of a national food security programme," said Henri Carsalade, FAO Assistant Director-General, Technical Cooperation Department, during the signing ceremony at FAO headquarters in Rome. "We are pleased to see Togo joining the growing number of countries that have signalled their commitment to scale up their activities to reduce hunger."
The costs of the project, estimated at US$3 million, will be shared between the two countries and FAO.
"The signature of this agreement by the Tunisian authorities will greatly facilitate identification of the financial resources necessary for its implementation," said Mr Carsalade. "Talks are already under way with potential donors, including the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa and the Sultanate of Oman, to assist Togo with its contribution."
Togo has already received US$225 000 for its food security activities through a regional food security project financed by the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA).
The South-South Cooperation Programme is part of FAO's Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS) designed to improve lives in some of the world's poorest countries by rapidly increasing food production, improving people's access to food and reducing their vulnerability to climatic events such as drought and floods.
Togo has participated in the Special Programme for Food Security since 1996, but today's signing marks the first time the country has entered into a South-South Cooperation Agreement. It is also the first such agreement for the Government of Tunisia.
During the signing ceremony, His Excellency Habib Mansour, Ambassador of Tunisia to Italy and Permanent Representative to the FAO, highlighted Tunisia and FAO's longstanding history of working together and said, "Our country welcomes and hopes to build on this South-South cooperation initiative and is pleased with the role of FAO in this tripartite agreement."
Mr Mansour added that the Tunisian experts would be able to adapt to local conditions and be effective actors in transmitting the Organization's message in the various agricultural areas covered under the agreement.
Finally, the Ambassador expressed his government's determination to strengthen its collaboration with FAO.
Today, the SPFS is present in more than 100 countries, and the South-South Cooperation Programme is being implemented in 35 countries, with over 650 experts and technicians currently working in farming communities.
Information Officer, FAO
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