Bank Group-FAO Working Sessions on Food Security

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Officials of the Bank Group’s field office in Senegal on Wednesday in Dakar received an FAO delegation comprising its Senegal Resident Representative, Amadou Ouattara, and Regional Coordinator, José Luis Fernandez, with whom they discussed food security, emergency operations and rehabilitation.  The objective of the working session was for both parties to share information on the food crisis as well as short and long term measures taken to deal with the crisis.

The Bank Group’s resident representative in Senegal, Mohamed H’Midouche, used the occasion to inform the FAO mission of measures and initiatives already taken by the Bank Group to deal with the food crisis that has been generated by escalating food prices. The Bank Group, Mr. H’Midouche said, had increased its agriculture portfolio by US$ 1 billion, adding that the institution had provided US$ 250 million following the restructuring of its agriculture portfolio. He advised that the Bank Group was organizing a high-level seminar aimed at discussing the crisis scheduled for June 25-26, 2008. With regard to Senegal, Mr. H’Midouche advised the FAO delegation that the Bank Group had suggested to the Senegalese government to use UA1.5 million from the PADERBA project to finance the purchase of agricultural inputs and to revive rice production in the Anambe Valley that covers 4170 hectares.

Mr. Ouattara, for his part, expressed satisfaction with Bank Group commitment to efforts aimed at resolving the food crisis. He reiterated FAO’s commitment to help the AfDB with the implementation of its emergency food production operations as part of efforts aimed at checking escalating food prices. He indicated his institution’s willingness to attend the high-level conference on the food crisis scheduled for June 25-26, 2008. He advised the AfDB resident representative of the assistance his organization was providing to vulnerable segments of the Senegalese population affected by soaring cereal prices. This, he said was being carried out through a US$ 2.23 million operation across seven regions in the country. The aid comprises, in particular, the distribution of rice, millet, sorghum, maize and beans seeds. The FAO, he continued, was also preparing two other operations of US$ 2 million each financed by Italy and Spain.

Both parties also discussed the Senegalese government’s agricultural policy, especially the Great Agricultural Offensive for Food and Abundance (GOANA) launched by the country’s president, Abdoulaye Wade. The FAO underscored the importance of establishing a link between GOANA and the National Food Security Programme designed and validated in 2007.