FAO regional rep optimistic over agricultural perspectives


08-March-2012

Mr Kamara, who was based in Madagascar but also covered Seychelles, Mauritius and Comoros, said agriculture is more diversified today than it was in 2007.

He said he took over just before world food prices globally soared by between 30% and 40%.
Mr Kamara said one action of the FAO was to help government set up an insurance programme to cover planters and fishermen in instances of disaster.

He said this was done with financial assistance from the African Development Bank (AfDB).

Mr Kamara said while it is very difficult for farmers, especially those involved in livestock, to compete with imported substitutes, he believes the government is doing the right thing by subsidising local farmers.

He expects the situation to even out within a few years, but said that meanwhile residents should bear in mind that local products are of better quality and healthier than imports.

Another FAO sponsored project coming up soon is agro-tourism, which should yield good dividends, as visitors tend to prefer consuming local products.

Another project witnessed by the outgoing FAO representative is the agricultural census.  The last one was held 34 years ago, in 1978.

The chief executive of the Seychelles Agricultural Agency, Antoine-Marie Moustache, said the census -- which began last year and is expected to be completed this year -- constitute the baseline for national agricultural production.
He said it is very important for policy makers to make informed decisions, based on data collected.  

Mr Moustache said information gathered to date reveals that not everyone registered as farmers were fully involved in agricultural production, while some 7,000 families are linked to some backyard food production activity.

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