Rome — In acknowledgement of the importance of partnership in tackling global issues, the staff of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP) have today been recognized for their outstanding work together in Mozambique.
Over the past several years, the UN food agencies' country teams have collaborated effectively to help improve the country's food security situation.
"Staff of the three agencies in Mozambique have leveraged their comparative advantages and knowledge to achieve an impressive level of synergy, put at the service of the most vulnerable in society," said FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva. "The programmes that they pushed forward with skill and commitment have helped thousands of small farmers and their families."
The first Award of Excellence: Working Together in the Field was presented to Mozambique-based staff members of the three organizations at an event held in Rome during the IFAD Governing Council. The award hopes to encourage further cooperation among the agencies by recognizing excellent work already achieved.
"Where we work together, particularly on the basis of our converging objectives and mandates, our cooperation highlights the key priorities for food and nutrition security," said IFAD President Kanayo F. Nwanze.
Cited in the Mozambique teams' nomination was a joint pilot programme that focused on improving production quality and reducing post-harvest losses for smallholder farmers. From 2008 to 2011, the programme reached 17 000 farmers from 14 farmers' associations, some of whom saw their marketable surplus increase by as much as 30 percent.
The programme, called Building Commodity Value Chains and Market Linkages for Farmers' Associations, has been previously recognized as one of the best examples of UN cooperation. Each agency contributed an area of expertise: WFP's local procurement models were bolstered by FAO and IFAD's technical capacity in boosting production, improving storage and business management and increasing access to credit.
"No single organization can solve the challenge of food security alone. The spirit of collaboration demonstrated by our agencies' teams is essential to effectively perform the work required to help Mozambicans lift themselves out of hunger and poverty," said WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin. "We must continue working closely together; most importantly, aligning our goals and actions for the benefit of those we serve."
Building on the success of their previous projects, the agencies are also demonstrating their cooperative efforts through a programme known as Accelerating Progress towards MDG1 in Mozambique. Under the new programme, the agencies aim to increase the demand for nutritious foods among participating farmers and fishers, thereby improving their food and nutrition security. The agencies will continue to work closely with the Government of Mozambique to ensure support for national priorities.