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SADC and FAO Workshop Marks Successful Conclusion of EU-Funded Agricultural Project

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) recently concluded a two-day workshop at the Gaborone International Conference Centre (GICC) in Botswana.

The event celebrated the achievements of the ‘Support towards the Operationalization of the SADC Regional Agricultural Policy’ (STOSAR) Project, funded by the European Union (EU) through the European Development Fund (EDF 11) with a contribution of Euro 9 million.

The workshop, held on 20-21 February 2024, aimed to showcase the accomplishments, share best practices, and impart lessons learned during the implementation of the STOSAR project. Attendees also discussed how STOSAR serves as a foundation for future national and regional initiatives.

Since its inception in 2018, the STOSAR Project has focused on three main areas: enhancing agricultural information management systems for data-driven decision-making, addressing transboundary animal diseases and crop pests, and improving food and nutrition security.

Honourable Fidelis Molao, Minister of Agriculture of the Republic of Botswana, opened the workshop and praised the achievements of the STOSAR project. He emphasized the importance of sustaining the momentum gained and ensuring that the project’s successes continue to drive agricultural sector growth in the SADC region.

Ms. Angele Makombo N’Tumba, SADC Deputy Executive Secretary for Regional Integration, highlighted the significant progress made by the STOSAR project in enhancing agricultural productivity, food security, and sustainable agricultural practices.

She reaffirmed the commitment to regional integration and agricultural development, emphasizing the pivotal role of the SADC Regional Agricultural Policy in fostering collaboration among member states.

Mr. Jose Becerra, Deputy Head of Cooperation at the EU Delegation in Botswana and SADC, announced plans for the successor program, STOSAR II Project. This new initiative aims to address industrial development and market integration through a transformed agricultural sector, emphasizing sustainable management of the environment and natural resources.

Dr. Patrice Talla, FAO Subregional Coordinator for Southern Africa, commended all partners involved in the STOSAR project for their dedication. He highlighted the project’s role in enabling SADC member states to develop capacity for timely and accurate pest risk analysis, crucial for both territorial protection and international market access compliance.

The workshop brought together representatives from SADC member states, relevant line ministries, the SADC Secretariat, EU and FAO, international development partners, centres of excellence, parastatals, academia, farmer unions, and private sector partners.

Additional source: SADC Secretariat

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