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Thursday, 27 November 2014

EU embraces CCARDESA, awards agricultural research grants

The centre, which is a subsidiary of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) received monetary support amounting to  5million Euros from the European Union (EU) and World Bank. Speaking at the ceremony to mark the presentation of the grants to the seven grantees, the first of its kind to be launched by CCORDESA, the EU Ambassador to Botswana and SADC Alexander Baum noted that the awards ceremony was of particular importance. He said it demonstrated the SADC region’s continuing efforts to create a conducive environment to support agricultural research and development under the stewardship of CCARDESA. Baum further said agriculture was the leading economic sector in most SADC countries as it represents 17% of the region’s Gross Domestic Products (GDP). “About 70% of the population depends on agriculture for food, income and employment, and agriculture is also a major source of exports in several countries, contributing about 13% of total export earning,” he said. 

Baum further said the EU was therefore pleased to assist the SADC region and CCARDESA in addressing the growing needs for research and development in the SADC region. “The selected proposals cover a wide range of topics such as poultry diseases, the development of solar dryer and urban farming practices in the livestock. “I am therefore confident that through CCARDESA Grants Facility, the SADC region will be better equipped to address some of the key challenges affecting the agricultural sector,” Baum said. He recognised the award ceremony as a true reflection of the EU commitment to support regional integration in Africa and that the new integration programme would be supported to the tune of Euro 1.3 billion to run up to 2020 under the European Development Fund (EDF). Baum also said that over the past 15 years, the EU has been actively involved in the coordination of agricultural research and development at the continental and regional level in Africa. “Several initiatives throughout the African continent were therefore supported by EU to strengthen the capacity and improve research funding in the agriculture sector,” he said.

Source: mmegi.bw