FAO Chief Visits Yemen [Archives:1998/12/Business & Economy]
The Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations arrived in Yemen on an official visit from 20 to 22 March. He met high level ministers and officials to discuss matters of common interest.
FAO’s association with Yemen goes back to 1960s. Since then it has helped to provide technical assistance in almost every aspect of the food and agricultural sector from policy issues to marketing.
Assisting Yemen in mobilizing external investment resources has been an important feature of FAO’s cooperation. Since 1985, the projects prepared by the FAO Investment Center, Rome attracted an amount of $282 million for regional development, agricultural credit, environment protection and fisheries.
FAO currently handles a technical assistance program of 25 projects with a budget of about $33 million, with new program of $4 million expected in 1998.
Thus, the FAO-Yemen technical assistance program is perhaps the largest in the world.
Some of the highlights of past and current FAO-Yemen technical assistance cooperation are:
FAO has assisted in the preparation of the First Five-Year Plan, the formulation of Food Security policy, and in the preparation of a ational water-resources policy that, together with efforts from UNDP and the Dutch Government led to the establishment of the National Water Resources Authority (NWRA).
FAO has helped in building-up the institutional capacity of the agricultural research and extension, by training its cadre, establishing research and extension centers, developing extension curricula, providing extension training materials, text books and audio visual aids, and establishing a documentation center in the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation.
Together with production, emphasis has been put on crop protection; FAO has assisted the country in controlling crop pests and diseases and strengthened plant quarantine capabilities. Recently, FAO has assisted in effective control of the Brown Peach Aphid in fruit trees through biological agents, resulting in enormous savings on pesticides and the prevention of pollution.
Yemen is a locust prone country. FAO has been assisting in controlling and combating this threat to agriculture production. The work has been further systemized and strengthened by a special Program, EMPRES (Emergency Prevention System for Transboundary Animals and Plant Pests and Diseases).
FAO has helped increase the production of small domestic livestock by assisting an UNCDF funded center for animal research in Mujahed Farm, Lahej. FAO has also assisted in controlling major animal diseases and enhancing the fish production by improving the extension, assessment and management of fish resources, organizing better credit facilities and emphasizing the role of women in fishing communities.
FAO has helped establish marketing information systems, that will provide farmers with better marketing possibilities, thus increasing their income. FAO will assist in the institutional aspects of establishment the UNCDF funded Al-Husayniah Wholesale Fruit and Vegetable Market.
Yemen has given much attention to regional development as an important dimension of agricultural development. FAO has provided technical assistance to several projects such as in Hadramaut and Shabwa funded from credit from IDA and IFAD. The projects’ objectives were improving production and productivity, irrigation systems, farming techniques, extension services, animal production and marketing facilities.
Until now about 1,000 Yemeni officials have been sent by FAO for long-term and short-term training fellowships in different agricultural disciplines.
FAO has helped to preserve the country’s natural resources. Its main objectives are: to strengthen the institutions, provide technical assistance in the water resources sector, initiate a program of water use monitoring and regulation in the agricultural sector and improve the efficiency of water management in controlled and small scale spate irrigated agriculture. In the field of forestry; to enhance the capacity building so that it has adequate planning, monitoring and evaluation capabilities in the field of forestry and range and to improve the integration of trees into agriculture land use systems and to improve natural forest management.
FAO has helped clean up 262 tons of obsolete pesticides from more than 20 different sites in the country, which were accumulated during the past 30 years.