Mon. Apr 15th, 2024

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Subregional Coordinator for Southern Africa, Patrice Talla paid a courtesy visit to His Excellency, Umberto Malnati, the Italian Ambassador to Zimbabwe at his offices in Harare. The courtesy visit is part of existing and ongoing collaborative programmes between Italy and FAO to promote agriculture investment and trade, food security and mitigate impact of climate change, with a view to implement the 2030 Agenda and translate political commitment into concrete actions.

During the meeting, discussions focused on deepening collaboration between FAO and the Italian Government and also to update on FAO’s readiness to rollout the two programmes being supported by exploring potential future programmes in the two countries that could be supported by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation. FAO is preparing to receive EURO 8.5 million from the Italian government to implement programmes in both countries. The funds will be committed towards implementation of two programmes on agriculture value chain and trade, and transboundary integrated sustainable management of the miombo woodlands valued at EURO 3.5 million and EURO 5 million respectively.

H.E Ambassador Umberto Malnati considered that Agriculture stands as the cornerstone for realizing the SDGs outlined in the UN Agenda 2030, epitomizing the vital intersection of environmental stewardship, economic growth and social equity necessary for sustainable global progress.

Italy, in collaboration with FAO, promotes sustainable food to assist member states throughout the globe in eradicating hunger and to achieve the SDGs of the 2030 UN Agenda while contributing to the four pillars of food security: availability, access, use, and stability.

“We are confident that these programmes will contribute significantly to the development goals of both Mozambique and Zimbabwe. FAO is working closely with the relevant Ministries and stakeholders in the two countries to ensure the successful implementation of these initiatives. FAO already has formal cooperating frameworks with the relevant Ministries in both countries. We look forward to collaborating with the Italian Embassy and the two countries to achieve positive and sustainable outcomes,” said Patrice Talla during the visit.

The courtesy call comes at an opportune time when FAO is in the process of expanding the reach and effectiveness of its programmes including the Regional Hand-in-Hand Initiative (HiHi) for Southern Africa. Building on the successful design of the existing initiatives, FAO is developing a subregional initiative modelled after the Trade and Development Initiative under the HiHi in Southern Africa.

The Ambassador expressed keen interest in exploring opportunities for deepening private sector facilitation for agriculture development and investment. In collaboration with the SADC, FAO is currently designing this regional initiative aimed at stimulating private sector investment in agriculture and fostering deeper trade connections within Southern Africa.  

During the courtesy call, FAO took the opportunity to present to the Ambassador its flagship report “The future of food and agriculture – Drivers and triggers for transformation.” This report analyses major drivers of agrifood systems and explores how their trends could determine alternative futures of agrifood, socio-economic and environmental systems.

The meeting was concluded with the FAO Subregional Coordinator for Southern Africa expressing his commitment to engaging the Italian government throughout the design processes and implementation of these programmes to ensure alignment with FAO and Italy’s development strategic objectives.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of FAO Regional Office for Africa.

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