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Photo: ©AFP/Andrei Aleksandrov/RIA Novosti

Belarus, FAO sign cooperation agreement

Priorities: natural resources, climate change, food chain improvement

Conserving and managing the country’s natural resources, adapting food production systems to climate change, and updating agri-food chains in line with WTO requirements are key priorities in an agreement signed here today between Belarus and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Food Vasily Sedin signed the “FAO Country Programme Framework in the Republic of Belarus 2014-2016,” with Vladimir Rakhmanin, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Europe and Central Asia, signing on behalf of FAO. The ceremony took place during a morning meeting at the Ministry.

“It gives me great pleasure to launch a renewed collaboration today with our Member Country the Republic of Belarus,” said Rakhmanin. “The Country Programme Framework is an essential agreement, because it matches FAO’s specialized expertise and abilities with Belarus’s national priorities and needs in the areas of food, agriculture and natural resources.”

Under the agreement, FAO and Belarus agree to concentrate their collaboration in two broad priority areas – 1) conservation and management of natural resources and climate change adaptation, and 2) agri-food chains and agri-food policy programming. Development of the different activities will be subject in part to availability of financing.

The need to preserve land and water resources for future generations, while using them in a sustainable way now, is a concept that runs through the whole document.

Introduction of an innovative system for cultivating rapeseed for biofuel on Chernobyl-affected land is planned. While creating income opportunities for residents in the concerned regions, biodiesel production from rapeseed oil is also expected to help Belarus diversify its energy resources and use them more efficiently.

The country’s valuable forest resources are also recognized, with plans to improve and update standards in forest fire management, nursery facilities and reforestation, and legislation for sustainable management of forests.

Safety along the food chain is highlighted, with provisions to build the abilities of public institutions in pesticide management, application of standards for pesticide and fertilizer application rates, plant nutrient management, use of bio-organic-mineral fertilizers, phytosanitary standards, and more.

FAO will also work with national authorities to strengthen the country’s food safety system – to protect public health and help meet the standards required for international food trade.

Work on the prevention and control of African Swine Fever, a transboundary disease of pigs which has progressively spread in the region since first being detected in 2007, is also planned under the agreement. FAO technical assistance may include development of a national programme on control and eradication of the disease, technical guidance on outbreak containment, laboratory diagnostics, public awareness, and development of a national epidemiological database on pig farms to help with outbreak management and surveillance.

23 September 2014, Minsk, Belarus

Source: Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations



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