UN agency, Libya team up to boost agriculture projects in Saharan countries
In a bid to bolster food security in the drought-stricken region bordering Africa’s vast Sahara desert, Libya and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today signed agreements totalling $21 million to finance agricultural projects in Sahelian and Saharan countries.
The first agreement, part of the FAO Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS), aims to advance agricultural production and enhance food security, alleviating hunger and poverty in Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Sudan and Niger – five of the 16 member countries of the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD).
Libya will fund the $9.3 million project, according to Dr. Mohamed Al-Madani Al-Azhari, Secretary General of CEN-SAD and the Director of the Seeds Centre who signed the agreements in Tripoli on behalf of the Government of Libya. CEN-SAD – a regional development cooperative – will work with FAO as those funds will be divided among the five countries to help to ensure access to adequate food and help poor farm communities increase food production and productivity.
Projects in Burkina Faso and Mali will each receive $2 million in funding, the project in Sudan is set to receive $1.9 million and Niger and Chad will each receive $1.7 million for their projects, according to FAO.
The second agreement, Development of a Seed and Propagation Material System, is designed to develop and modernize the agriculture sector in Libya, and aims to improve national food security by enhancing the organization, promotion and diffusion of massive seed production.
The project will also help develop seed policy, legislation, regulation and standards, while advancing capacity building for a sustained seed programme. Libya has committed nearly $12 million and an additional 1,369,673 in Libyan dinars to fund the projects through trust fund arrangements with FAO.