Agricultural fund team on fact-finding mission


Mr Messer (3rd from right) and the Seychelles officials during the press conference on Friday

During its August 7-14 mission, the team led by Ifad, country programme manager for Seychelles Norman Messer has already met stakeholders from government and non-governmental agencies and the private sector.

Consultants Phillip Townsley and Francs Gossens also make up the team
During a meeting with the press last Friday afternoon, Mr Messer said food security was the main concern raised during the talks.

“Food security was the main concern during the consultations, therefore the Ifad will place more emphasis on that. Support for smaller farmers to produce more and have access to the local market and look for ways to explore the potential for both farmers and fishermen in the tourism industry, were also discussed,” he said.

The issue of climate change and ways to mitigate its impact on agriculture and fisheries were also raised during the meeting and Mr Messer said he believes it is an area where he would place a lot of emphasis for financial help.

The team also explored the issue of cost of productions and other logistical complexities and economies of scale relating to agriculture and artisanal fishing and was also expected to outline a preliminary budget for Seychelles, including contributions from government as well as the private sector.

Mr Messer said his team has observed a very enabling environment for development of agriculture and fisheries with well-developed and well-articulated policies and action plans in place and these would probably need to be fine-tuned through more ensuing discussions between the various stakeholders and the Ifad.

Subsequently, it is expected that a project report for Seychelles would be ready before the end of the year and if all goes well financing will hopefully be available for projects next year.

Also present during the meeting with the press was the Minister for Natural Resources and Industry Peter Sinon, the chief executive of the Seychelles Fishing Authority Finley Racombo and its chairperson Phillip Michaud as well as the chief executive of the Seychelles Agricultural Agency Marc Naiken.

Mr Sinon said the Ifad mission here is in line with the effective reengagement of Seychelles with the body after some 10 years that its help had not been sought.

Before this first mission, Mr Sinon held talks on two occasions with representatives of the fund in Rome, Italy.

It is expected that the Ifad team will also help in formulating a climate-smart smallholder agriculture support project for Seychelles. This comprises the use of more energy-saving technologies, renewable energy and improving the efficiency of using natural resources.

Before leaving Seychelles today, the Ifad team was expected to pay a courtesy call on the Minister for Finance, Trade and Investment Pierre Laporte and also visit various agricultural and fishing facilities.

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