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UNECA, FAO strike agro deal

KABANDA CHULU, Lusaka
TWO United Nations’ agencies have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to address challenges facing the agricultural sector in Africa in a bid to stop exports of raw commodities from the continent.
The MoU between the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) will also provide a framework for strategic collaboration between the two UN entities in areas including promoting sustainable agriculture and agribusiness development, improving food and nutrition security in Africa, as well as regional integration and trade.
FAO director-general for natural resources, Maria Helena Semedo said agriculture has always been at the centre of the two organisations’ work thereby raising the need for more co-operation and collaboration in the areas of agriculture, nutrition, rural development and agro-industries.
“The MoU we are signing gives us a broad framework for strategic cooperation. In Vision 2063, Africa’s 50-year developmental plan, agriculture features prominently in its role to help Africa’s transformation,” she said.
Ms Semedo said challenges ahead include feeding a population of two billion by 2050 in the midst of climate change characterised by drought, crop failure, livestock diseases and diminishing water sources.
“In order to cope, we need to do more of the same but by improving our productivity and using technology to transform the sector and contribute to the transformation of the African economy,” she said.
And ECA acting executive secretary Abdallah Hamdok said specific joint projects, programmes and other activities will be undertaken in the priority areas for strategic collaboration.
He said the MoU was important; especially that agriculture plays a crucial role in Africa being the backbone of many economies.
“The FAO and ECA share common goals and objectives and recognize the importance of undertaking concerted and coordinated programmes to further these common goals and objectives, based on the reciprocal recognition of each party’s role and responsibilities,” Mr Hamdok said.

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