DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC of CONGO - FAO, China and the Democratic Republic of the Congo have signed a two-year agreement worth almost $1.5 million aimed at increasing food and nutrition security in the conflict-ravaged African nation.
The deal establishes a new South-South Cooperation (SSC) partnership which will make Chinese technical advice and expertise available to the country's agriculture sector.
It was developed via the FAO-China South-South Cooperation (SSC) Programme, which was created in 2009 and an additional funding boost from China last year.
SSC projects help developing countries share and transfer knowledge and expertise among themselves, so that innovations and good practices that have been tried and tested elsewhere in the global South can benefit other countries facing similar challenges.
Tapping Chinese expertise to reboot agriculture
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a vast country with rich natural resources and economic potential but, as a consequence of instability caused by localised conflicts that have claimed millions of lives, there is an urgent need to tackle malnutrition and food insecurity.
The new partnership will help the country improve the sustainable management and use of these resources to reboot the agricultural sector and improve rural livelihoods.
Five Chinese experts and eight technicians will be stationed in the country's capital, Kinshasa, and in the city of Lubumbashi, in the southeast for two years.
Their immediate priorities include improving rice and vegetable production as well as introducing new techniques and technologies such as specialized aquaculture and livestock breeding.
Some of the biggest challenges they will face are building-up stocks of high-quality seeds, technical know-how, access to land and financing. The Chinese experts will collaborate with local partners to understand the difficulties faced by farming communities and come up with solutions.
Increasing food security, improving livelihoods
The new FAO-China effort in the DRC will not only help farmers to increase production, improve the quality of their produce, but also assist them in moving from a subsistence level to selling surplus at market.
A number of ongoing FAO-China partnerships tackle a vast range of programmatic areas in food and nutrition security, sustainable agriculture and poverty reduction. Projects are in place in at least 28 countries across Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean and the South Pacific.
FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva has described South South Cooperation as "a central pillar of FAO's work" in meeting the challenges set by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
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