FAO supports the Kingdom of Eswatini to achieve sustainable agriculture

© FAO/Gargiulo

01/08/2019 - 

MBABANE, ESWATINI — Under the direction of newly installed Director-General Qu Dongyu, an FAO-led mission visited the Kingdom of Eswatini from 23-30 July to identify priority areas for agricultural development, in collaboration with three agricultural experts from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), financially supported by China. As the first action taken under Director-General Qu’s mandate and endorsed by the government of the Kingdom of Eswatini, this mission identified pathways forward to promote agricultural development in the country, including potential partnerships for food security and sustainable development among countries of the global South. 

During the mission, the officers and experts conducted multiple field visits to meet with local farmers and gain a comprehensive understanding of the country’s unique assistance needs.The presence of external experts proved to be a great asset in identifying maize and vegetable production as priority areas for technical assistance, among other important topics, such as irrigation and livestock management. Innovative agricultural techniques, such as developing vegetable production in tunnels, were also identified as priority approaches, as they can improve the yields and livelihoods of smallholder farmers. Throughout the mission, FAO officers held productive meetings with representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture, parastatal organizations and several commercial boards to discuss how FAO can best support the country, including the possibility of implementing a Technical Cooperation Programme in the immediate term, as well as potential South-South and Triangular Cooperation initiatives.

This mission provided a robust foundation to further strengthen the collaboration between FAO and Eswatini. The Minister of Agriculture of Eswatini, Mr Jabulani Mabuza, expressed great appreciation for FAO’s assistance, stating “Director-General Qu promised support and he did. I am surprised by how fast he sent the mission of officers and experts to the Kingdom.”

South-South and Triangular Cooperation is playing a greater role than ever before in the international development cooperation landscape. As Director-General Qu stated earlier this year, “Southern countries can complement each other and achieve common development. Existing cooperation should be extended in order to share agricultural development concepts, policy measures, practical technologies, and farmers’ innovations via the FAO South-South Cooperation portals.” By exchanging these innovative development solutions, countries of the global South are adopting concrete measures to address global food insecurity, contributing to realization of SDG1 and 2: No Poverty and Zero Hunger.