Bogota, Colombia – Colombia’s Rural Development Agency and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations signed an 8.7 million US dollar agreement to support the country’s agricultural and rural public policy.
The Rural Development Agency (RDA) was created in 2015 with the express goal of improving the living conditions of rural inhabitants and supporting the Peace Agreement through large-scale rural initiatives.
FAO will work with the Rural Development Agency to develop rural development plans and projects with a comprehensive territorial approach.
“For us this agreement is fundamental. We have the certainty that with FAO we are going to make a great team”, said Carlos Eduardo Gechem, president of the RDA, during the signing of the agreement.
By strengthening the capabilities of the Rural Development Agency, FAO will help Colombia develop the institutional support needed to bring life back to rural areas affected by the armed conflict and rebuild rural communities, bolstering peace and increasing the country’s agricultural competitiveness.
“This agency represents the type of institutions that a new Colombia needs”, stated FAO’s Representative in Colombia, Rafael Zavala, regarding the key role that the Rural Development Agency plays in Colombia’s rural areas.
Carefully tailored solutions for each territory
The joint work between FAO and the Rural Development Agency will focus on 16 (out of 32) of the country’s departments: Chocó, Caldas, Risaralda, Quindío,, Cauca, Valle del Cauca, Putumayo, Huila, Atlántico, Antioquia, Boyacá, Bolívar, Cesar, Tolima, Meta and Nariño.
The new agreement considers three main areas of work. The first will focus on creating and co-financing comprehensive agricultural and rural development projects with a territorial approach, and technical assistance services carefully crafted to meet the specific needs of each territory.
The second aims to develop comprehensive agricultural plans for rural development at department level (Colombia is a unitary republic formed by thirty-two departments) and a methodological manual for the construction of these plans so they can be replicated and socialized with local communities.
The third main area of work will strengthen the capacities of the Rural Development Agency and other key stakeholders to improve productive integration and competitiveness by supporting family farming organizations and partnerships with the private sector.
Under this line of work, FAO will create guidelines for agricultural technical assistance services, plans to strengthen associativity, and a strategy for the creation and operation of local networks of integrated agricultural development projects.
“The alliance we signed will make peace through institutional development. Our attention will not only be centered on high-risk areas, but on the whole of rural Colombia, a part of the country that has been, in some way, left behind”, Zavala stated.
“FAO is an organization with great experience and the ability to work hand in hand on an issue that is a fundamental to our country,” Gechem concluded.
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