A US$4 million project to strengthen controls of food security threats and better manage plant and animal pests and diseases in the Southern African region was launched today in Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare.
The project is funded by the Africa Solidarity Trust Fund’s (ASTF), a unique initiative for mobilising resources ‘from Africa for Africa’ and administered by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
“The fund aims to pool resources from Africa’s strongest economies and use them across the continent to implement initiatives in the framework of the African Union’s Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme CAADP to boost agricultural productivity and food security in Africa”, said Chimimba David Phiri, FAO Sub-regional Coordinator for Southern Africa.
Eight countries in southern Africa will benefit directly from the three-year project. These include Angola, Botswana, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Other countries in the subregion will be key partners in the initiative because of the transboundary nature of the pests and diseases being targeted. The project will also work in close collaboration with the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) to ensure Subregional coverage.
“Sustainable agriculture is known to support the majority of SADC member states’ economies and ensures food security, nutritional security and resilience in communities. It is therefore heartening to note that this project addresses the very impediments and constraints that limit progress in achieving sustainable agriculture, vibrant intra and inter – regional trade,” said the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Mechanization, Irrigation Development responsible for Livestock and Veterinary Services, Paddy Zhanda. The project will enhance effective prevention and control mechanisms in order to improve food and nutrition security and enhance regional and international trade of food and agro-products in southern Africa.