· Signs Five-year $19 million Country Programming Framework
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Kingdom of Swaziland have agreed to collaborate on a number of initiatives including market–led agricultural production and processing to strengthen the country’s economy.
The areas of collaboration were defined in a five-year $19 million Country Programming Framework (CPF) signed by both parties with expected outcomes to be achieved between 2016 and 2020.
Other priority areas to be covered include: food and nutrition security; and sustainable use of natural resources and climate change adaptation.
Speaking at the signing ceremony in Mbabane on 17 May 2017, Moses Nsizwa Vilakati, theMinister of Agriculture of the Kingdom of Swaziland, said “the CPF represents the commitment of FAO to assisting the Government in its efforts to achieve national development objectives and to achieve food and nutrition security for the population”.
The CPF is aligned to the Kingdom of Swaziland’s national development objectives that are articulated in the National Development Strategy, the National Agricultural Investment Program (SNAIP), the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme CAADP, the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) and FAO’s global, regional and subregional objectives.
It will be implemented by the Government of the Kingdom of Swaziland and FAO with support from the wider spectrum of stakeholders within the private sector, semi government institutions and civil society.
Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy of the Kingdom of Swaziland, and a major source of employment for more than 70 percent of the population. However, the sector has been impacted by the incidence of weather-induced crop failures, pests and diseases and limited access by especially smallholder farmers to financing instruments and technology. Over 640 000 people – more than half the population who became food insecure as a result of the El Nino – induced drought in 2015/16 are yet to recover from the effects of the disaster.
Moses Vilakati said the implementation of CPF would lead to an increased productivity and food security as well as growth in employment creation for socio-economic development.
The Framework will promote the establishment of food and nutrition gardens, sustainable food production techniques as well as facilitate improved dietary standards and regulations. It will also focus on the development of agricultural value chains and programmes that are expected to attract smallholder farmers to adopt business approach towards agriculture.
Focus on building resilience
The Framework focuses on building resilience of rural-based smallholder farmers so that they are capitated to prepare for, respond to and recover from the effects of climate variability and other disasters. It will promote coping strategies to disasters, encourage the establishment of food reserves and the improvement of land productivity.
David Phiri, the FAO Representative for the Kingdom of Swaziland and Subregional Coordinator for Southern Africa said “FAO is already implementing a Climate-Smart Agriculture programme in the country, with the aim of sustainably increasing agricultural productivity and incomes, adapting and building resilience to climate change and reducing and/or removing greenhouse gas emissions, where possible”.
$4 million out of USD19 million already mobilized
FAO has already sourced $4 million, out of $19 million that is required to implement the programmes and projects that are proposed in the Framework.
“We will continue working with the Government of the Kingdom of Swaziland to mobilize the remaining $15.3 million though FAO’s Technical Corporation Programme (TCP), Trust Funds from development partners as well as from Government’s budgetary allocations”, said David Phiri.
David Phiri and Moses Vilakati also signed an agreement that will pave way for the implementation of a South-South Cooperation project funded by the Government of Morocco to a tune of $234 000.
FAO facilitates the South-South Cooperation through which countries in the global south share and exchange of key development solutions – knowledge, experiences and good practices, policies, technology, know-how, and resources.
Vilakati welcomed the project, saying it will strengthen the capacity of Swaziland’s agricultural sector, with particular focus on livestock, irrigation and water management and horticulture.
“Swaziland will benefit from Morocco’s experience in water governance, modernization of irrigation systems, horticultural production, open field cultivation, the use of hybrid crop varieties and livestock production and marketing”, he said.