GAMBIA – The European Union (EU) and the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), alongside its partner agencies have signed a US$13.60 million deal to support programs designed to address food security as well as rural development.

According to The Point, the proceeds will go towards supporting three separate programmes with the first one targeting to empower rural women as key actors in improving nutrition and food security.

Another will support global food security governance mechanisms, that is promoting greater involvement by civil society in policy making while the third aims to enhance private sector funding to support agricultural development projects.

Apart from EU and FAO, the projects have also found support from International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP).

“All three contracts will intensify the cooperation between the three Rome-based agencies (FAO, IFAD and WFP), as well as their collaboration with the EU.

I look forward to effective joint work and clear results from the projects,” said EU Commissioner in charge of International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica.

The women initiative, worth US$5.66 million identifies rural women as key change makers and will build off a joint proposal for mainstreaming gender considerations into rural development.

It works to unlock and harness the many contributions that female farmers and food processes and women heads of household make to economic growth, good nutrition, and economic development.

The global food security governance initiative looks to provide support to the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), an international body convened by FAO that brings international organisations and civil-society groups working on food security together with governments to hash out a common global agenda for tackling hunger and malnutrition.

The third project, named Agrintel and worth US$4.53 million, will enhance FAO-European Commission collaboration in the area of investment support, geared towards encouraging private investments in agrifood systems that are sustainable and have a strong development impact.

FAO Director-General, Jose Graziano da Silva said: “The FAO-EU relationship is a strong, well-established partnership with a long track record of successful teamwork and collaboration.

We are extremely grateful for the ongoing trust and support the EU has shown us, and are gratified to be able to continue this team effort to build a world with zero hunger.”