The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has signed on to support Mauritius in agri-business development and agro value chain, promotion of sustainable agriculture for food security, and sustainable fisheries, amongst others.

The Country Programming Framework (CPF) for Mauritius for the period 2014-2019 was signed on June 18, 2014 by Mauritius agriculture minister Satish Faugoo and the FAO representative for Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles, Patrice Talla Takoukam.

The CPF focuses on several domains such as the green economy, Maurice Ile Durable and the action plan to improve sustainable economic growth.

“We have always enjoyed a privileged relationship with the FAO. Mauritius, as a member of this international organisation since 1968, has fully benefited from technical support programs in the implementation of several projects in the agriculture, fisheries and forest sectors,” Satish Faugoo declared.

In addition, he asserted that these programs have strengthened the national capacity of the agricultural ministry, for instance in the management of porcine health and revitalization of the pork industry in 2009 and in the wake of the swine fever epidemic.

The FAO is also expected to assist in the implementation of the agricultural census by Statistics Mauritius as from July 2014, of which the last census was conducted as far back as 1940.

Minister Faugoo indicated that his ministry has recently benefited from a technical cooperation program of the FAO for reorganisation and capacity building in agricultural services with the aim of modernising the sector. “No doubt this initiative will benefit the agricultural community and the general public,” he added.

For the next five years, the ‘Country Programming Framework’ will help to strengthen the governance framework and support structure for small farmers, besides giving a boost to the application of best practices in agricultural mechanisation, irrigation, and provision of seeds.

Moreover, this program aims at promoting organic farming through the development of an institutional framework, promoting sustainable agriculture and improving the capacity of the ministry in planning and data mining, analysis and dissemination.

The promotion of sustainable fishing is also part of the FAO’s program for Mauritius, and the total cost of this program is pegged at approximately Rs 60 million.

As for the regional representative of the FAO, Patrice Talla Takoukam, he noted that the program can be modified at any time during its implementation.

He also emphasized that the government of Mauritius should be in the driving seat for the implementation of the priorities listed out in the CPF while the FAO is here as a supportive institution to provide technical assistance and, to an extent, funding, to Mauritius.

Finally, Takoukam observed that Mauritius should try to supplement FAO funding by seeking other international investors such as the World Bank and the African Development Bank on the strength of the CPF document, to ensure the program’s success.

It may be noted that FAO is a United Nations agency which has has 194 Member Nations, two associate members and one member organization, the European Union.

Headquartered in Rome, Italy, FAO is present in over 130 countries and helps its member nations meet the demands and challenges posed by major global trends in agricultural development.

The intergovernmental organization depends on voluntary contributions provided by members and other partners, which are expected to reach approximately USD 1.4 billion in 2014-15.

The United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization helps its member nations meet the demands and challenges posed by major global trends in agricultural development. (Image: EPA)

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