Seychelles Business Meeting urges food sovereignty

The Post- Compact High Level Business Meeting for mobilizing finances to bridge the budget gap for the Seychelles National Agriculture Investment Plan (SNAIP) has successfully been held with a call for food import substitution.

Speaking during the official opening of the Business Meeting held on the 19th November, 2015 in Mahe, Seychelles at Eden Bleu Hotel, COMESA Assistant Secretary General-Programmes, Ambassador Kipyego Cheluget congratulated the Government of Seychelles for holding the Business Meeting.

Ambassador Cheluget said Seychelles becomes the 9th COMESA Member State to host the Post-Compact High Level Business Meeting within the CAADP framework.

“The High Level Business Meeting is an additional resource mobilization platform to enable financing of the SNAIP. This is a crucial milestone to ensure the CAADP agenda moves beyond documents into full scale implementation of programmes”, he said.

Ambassador Cheluget commended the technical

and financial partners who have supported the Seychelles CAADP process since inception and assured the country of COMESA’s support to the country’s social and economic transformation agenda.

Seychelles Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture Mr. Wallace Cosgrow urged local farmers to take up the challenge of meeting the country’s food and nutrition security needs and to reduce the island nation’s dependency on imported foods.

Mr. Cosgrow said a recent study in the hospitality industry has shown that the quality of local vegetables, meat and fish were better than imported foods.

“We cannot produce all the food we need but there is substantial room for local farmers to contribute and reduce dependency on imported foods. This cannot be realized by doing business as usual. The Seychelles Government is committed to ensure challenges faced by local farmers were solved ”, he said.

Mr. Cosgrow said his country embraced CAADP as a framework to develop its agricultural sector to one which adequately supplements food imports, minimizes the country’s vulnerability to external shocks related to food imports and promotes local production of quality nutritious foods.

He added that the Seychelles National Agriculture Investment Plan was a product of wide consultations with local farmers, local and international partners with the main objective of meeting the country’s food and nutrition security.

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Sub-Regional Office for Southern Africa Investment Support Officer Jean Risopoulos said the total budget for the SNAIP was approximately US$127 million with a budget deficit of around US$40 million.

Mr. Risopoulos said the priorities identified in the Seychelles CAADP Compact and highlighted in the SNAIP provided a guide for sustainable investment in the agriculture sector for the period 2015-2020.

“The objective of the SNAIP is to stimulate and guide investments in building and sustaining desired level of local food production with higher nutritional value and enable Seychelles optimize use on its natural resources”, he said.

Mr. Risopoulos added that FAO was supporting the government of Seychelles on land use planning including soil and forestry management as well as developing the legal framework for food and nutrition security.

Several local and international stakeholders in the agriculture sector made pledges for investment in the agriculture sector for Seychelles to reduce the SNAIP financing gap. These included the Ministry of Finance, Trade and Blue Economy, Seychelles Trading Company, Seychelles Youth in Agriculture, ISPC Seychelles, West Gate Farm and NEPAD.

Minister of Finance, Trade and Blue Economy Jean Paul Adam pledged to increase the annual budget allocations to the Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture to meet the SNAIP budget.

NEPAD Senior Programme Officer responsible for country implementation, Miss Unami Mpofu pledged Technical support for translation of Malabo Declaration goals into country specific goals.

Miss Mpofu said the AU/NEPAD was currently looking at the financing structure of Malabo Declaration to increase investments in the agriculture sector.

“Malabo Declaration requires member states to report to each other on progress on CAADP through biannual reviews. This not about continental reporting but country accountability for evidence based decision making and requires strong institutional capacity and data management systems”, she said.

The Post- Compact High Level Business Meeting was attended by Seychelles Vice President Danny Faure and former Minister of Natural Resources Peter Sinon.

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