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Seychelles re-engages with International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) at its 35th Summit of its General Council held in Rome, February 23-24, 2012

Seychelles re-engages with International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) at its 35th Summit of its General Council held in Rome, February 23-24, 2012 ( IFAD is a specialized United Nations agency in the form of an international financial institution with the ultimate goal to enable its developing country member states, especially the poor rural communities, to improve their respective food and nutritive security. IFAD works with governments, NGOs, and the private sector to design and provide low-interest loans and grants to fund innovative programs and projects that fit within the national priorities for agriculture and rural development. They partner with other International Financial Institutions (IFIs) in fulfilling their aforementioned mission. The organization also brings the point of view of smallholder farmers to bear on international policy deliberations, as well as builds their capacity to engage in and influence relevant policy processes.

The Republic of Seychelles was represented at IFAD’s 35th Summit by Minister Peter Sinon, accompanied by his advisor Ms. Desaubin-Stravens. The theme for this year’s summit was “sustainable smallholder agriculture, feeding the world and protecting the planet.” The theme aims to highlight, mobilize, and prepare stakeholders of the global agricultural sector for the upcoming “Rio+20” conference to be held in Brazil. The motivation for the global agricultural community being eager to wanting to get involved and be on the agenda, is due to the emerging challenges and adverse impacts of climate change to agriculture communities the world over. Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are at the forefront of the effects and the focus on smallholder agriculture, and their critical contribution to world food and nutritive security is timely and bodes well for SIDS.

In his intervention, Minister Sinon raised relevant issues that were affecting the food and nutritive security of the Seychelles, gave some examples of possible solutions, and announced that Seychelles is now eager to re-activate its collaboration with IFAD. Among the present challenges, the Minister singled out piracy, the paradox of market liberalization and its impact on the domestic farming community, climate change effects especially in relation to freak weather patterns causing prolonged droughts and followed by floods. There is a need for a transformation that incorporates and places a premium on climate-smart agriculture that would support adaptation measures, promotion, and practice of sustainable agriculture that generates decent and sustainable incomes, investment in supporting infrastructure, upgraded training and re-training, and, last but by no means least, a comprehensive understanding and servicing effectively, the dynamic and evolving agricultural sector value chain of the Republic of Seychelles.

In the margins of the conference, Minister Sinon, joined by Ms. Desaubin Stravens, and a Seychellois employee of IFAD, Mr. Perin St.Ange, were privileged to have a private audience with the IFAD President. The latter informed of the prominent promotion and appointment of Mr. Perin St.Ange to the post of Director for Eastern and Southern Africa. Mr. St.Ange, thus, would be covering the Seychelles. The desire for Seychelles to reactivate its engagement and develop an active portfolio for agriculture development with IFAD was welcomed.

The Minister took the opportunity to congratulate Mr. St.Ange for assuming his new and important responsibilities, and the President for a very successful and interesting 35th Summit. The latter saw the participation of President Paul Kagame of Rwanda as the keynote speaker, Prime Minister Mario Monti of Italy, and Bill Gates of the Bill Gates and Melinda Foundation, among others.

An immediate technical meeting followed the aforementioned courtesy call on the President of IFAD, where the Minister and his delegation deliberated with Mr. Norman Messer, the Country Program Manager. The latter was briefed on major initiatives underway that will act as a platform and foundation to draw a new program for Seychelles. Among the key and critical ones are: the agricultural census that will provide vital data on the state of the sector, the study of the agricultural value-chain, the process of drafting and validating the Seychelles’ Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Plan (CAADP) Investment Plan, following the successful adherence of Seychelles to the CAADP framework.
A technical team from IFAD is expected in Seychelles soon to start work on the Seychelles program with IFAD, who has a commendable track record of leveraging financing from other partner financing institutions such as the OPEC fund, World Bank, African Development Bank, and others. The Ministry has already had fruitful and encouraging responses following a request to the Kuwait Fund. The latter is one of the major contributors to IFAD.

PHOTO: Minister Peter Sinon presenting his credentials to President of IFAD, Mr. Kanayo. F. Nwanze / Photo from STB

MEDIA CONTACT: Alain St.Ange, CEO, Seychelles Tourism Board, Email:

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