Celebrating South-South Cooperation, innovative partnerships for tackling food insecurity and poverty

Uganda event marks 10th Anniversary of the FAO-China South-South Cooperation (SSC) Programme

25 November, Kampala, Uganda - Through South-South Cooperation, countries across the global South are successfully exchanging technical expertise and building innovative partnerships, which if strengthened, can continue to play a crucial role in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

This was the message at the opening today of a three-day event in Kampala, Uganda, marking the 10th Anniversary of the FAO-China South-South Cooperation Programme and Triangular Cooperation.

Supported by China, the programme has benefited more than 70,000 people directly in 12 developing countries in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. The theme of the 10th Anniversary event is "Inspiration, Inclusion and Innovation" as the programme reflects on its achievements and looks to the future.

"The success of the FAO-China South-South Cooperation Programme is not limited to technical transfer, capacity building and engagement of rural working women and youth through working together hand in hand," said Abebe Haile-Gabriel, FAO's Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa.

"What is even more noteworthy is its catalytic impact - inspiring other countries to join hands with FAO in the fight against food insecurity and malnutrition as well as poverty."

The President of Uganda, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, will be a special guest at the event on 26 November. The anniversary celebrations have attracted more than 200 delegates from over 40 countries, including agriculture ministers from SSC participating countries.

South-South (SSC) and Triangular Cooperation - involving third countries and other partners - is based on solidarity, and has proven effective in creating jobs, building infrastructure and promoting trade while offering a complementary model to the traditional relationship between donors and recipients.

FAO has played a pioneering role in championing South-South and Triangular Cooperation, and in the past two decades more than $370 million has been invested in related projects and activities, and more than 2000 experts and technicians have been deployed worldwide. Currently, FAO has approximately 40 such projects in over 90 host countries, including Uganda.

Officials and experts gathered at the Kampala event to discuss the results, innovations and lessons learned from the first 10 years of the FAO-China SSC Programme and to develop a new vision for the future. The digitalization of agriculture and use of digital platforms to assist farmers and producers are a priority as well as financial services to help the rural poor increase their incomes and move out of poverty in line with UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Abebe Haile-Gabriel said it was critical to attract greater private sector investment and generate more involvement from developed and developing countries.

"Impact can be achieved at scale only when national governments, both in recipient and provider countries, have the capacity to identify, map, document and disseminate good practices," he said.

He said FAO had also set an ambitious target of creating up to 200 partnerships with academic and research institutions to foster technical exchanges and capacity-building.

China's strong support

Since FAO and China established the SSC Programme in 2009, experts from China have shared their knowledge and technologies with local farmers in Africa and Asia to raise agricultural productivity and sustainability in areas such as cereal production, animal husbandry, horticulture, fisheries and aquaculture, and water and soil management and conservation.

Hundreds of low-cost technologies have been introduced including 330 species of animals and plants, 120 production practices and 200 types of agricultural machinery and tools. A total of 1300 training sessions have been held in various countries and more than 290 Chinese experts and technicians have been deployed directly in 12 countries.

The programme has also attracted support from Brazil, India, Korea, Germany, Japan and the Netherlands who have collaborated through Triangular Cooperation.

Nigeria, Uganda, Namibia, Sri Lanka and Mongolia are among the countries that have benefited from SSC initiatives to enhance food security, livelihoods and the incomes of small family producers.

Uganda has benefited from SSC projects since December 2011 with support to enhance the agriculture sector and new strategies to boost the production and profitability of crops, livestock and fisheries.

Experts have also been working with farmers in Namibia to enhance sustainable agricultural production drawing on China's experience in rice production, soil and pest management and foxtail millet and horticulture production. Practical field training by Chinese experts enabled Namibian farmers to increase rice yields by more than ten percent largely as a result of new rice production techniques.

In Nigeria, 650 Chinese experts and technicians were deployed in various states to share their experience in rice production, aquaculture and others, while in a separate project in Kenya, China will collaborate with Germany and Kenya through triangular cooperation to develop a climate resilient carbon neutral tea value chain and market for tea products.

Kenya is the world's third largest tea producer and the biggest in Africa and climate change has posed a significant threat to its tea production.

A new SSC regional project in south-east Asia is focused on fighting cross border animal diseases such as African swine fever in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) spanning Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar.

The three-year project, which was launched in 2019, aims to establish greater collaboration to improve the detection, prevention and spread of African swine fever (ASF) and address the problems of endemic swine diseases across concerned countries.

Facts and Figures of the FAO-China South-South Cooperation programme

• More than 70,000 direct beneficiaries at the grass-roots level in rural areas and several hundreds of thousands of indirect beneficiaries

• 1,000 trainees from over 100 countries attended over 40 capacity development events (study tours, high-level training courses, workshops, seminars, expert meetings, policy dialogues, symposiums and forums);

• More than 290 Chinese experts and technicians deployed directly in 12 countries (ten in Africa and two in Asia), out of which more than 240 for assignments of two year duration at village level for hand-in-hand and face-to-face capacity development;

• Chinese Trust Fund of $80 million has supported the Programme's activities and leverage further SSC partnerships.

Both South-South (SSC) and Triangular Cooperation (TrC) have proven effective in creating jobs, building infrastructure and promoting trade in countries across the global South. They seek to boost a broad framework for collaboration among developing countries and offer a complementary model to the traditional relationship between donors and recipients.

Photo: ©FAO
Grafting mango seeds in Nigeria.