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SQU-FAO deal to give a fillip to agriculture, fisheries


MUSCAT: Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) on Thursday signed a Letter of Understanding (LoU) concerning efforts to build up agriculture and fisheries sector capacities to support small holders at national and regional levels.

The agreement was signed at FAO representation office in Muscat by Sayyidah Dr Muna bint Fahd al Said, SQU Assistant Vice Chancellor for International Cooperation, and José Graziano da Silva, Director General of the FAO.

This collaboration will enhance the delivery of FAO’s mandate to “collect, analyse, interpret and disseminate information relating to nutrition and food security”.

The collaboration is in direct support of FAO’s strategic objectives to make the agriculture and fisheries sectors more productive and sustainable and to improve livelihoods of small-scale family farmers through joint support to the FAO’s Regional Initiatives on Small Scale Family Farming on water scarcity and building resilience for food security and nutrition.

The LoU seeks to support and strengthen capacities in a number of areas, such as generate, exchange and disseminate knowledge and data related to the agriculture and fisheries sector in Oman in the form of joint articles, videos, research papers and studies and publications; Development of a FAO publications library within SQU to increase access for professors, professionals and students of FAO’s knowledge products; Contribute to the SQU’s Master Programmes of Food Science and Nutrition or Marine Science and Fisheries and other relevant programmes through FAO’s contribution to curriculum development and provision of lectures on mutually agreed topics in FAO’s area of expertise; and, Access to and uptake of FAO’s e-Learning products at SQU on food security, nutrition and agriculture themes.

As per the LoU, FAO will provide technical support on joint projects to facilitate and provide access to tools, methodologies and materials to contribute to the development and implementation on FAO-SQU projects; identify and support mobilisation of technical experts to the development and implementation on FAO-SQU projects.

The LoU includes clauses pertaining to organisation and delivery of joint events to promote sustainable and productive practices of agriculture and fisheries sectors in Oman and raise awareness of small-scale family farming, including support to occasions such as World Food Day, Rural Women’s Day, World Water Day, etc.

The two parties may agree to build institutional capacities in areas of mutual interest through mobilisation of experts and staff within FAO’s Internship, Volunteer and Fellowship Programme, South-South Cooperation, Triangular Cooperation and other forms of collaboration.

FAO will provide non-binding advice to the board of the College of Agricultural & Marine Sciences at SQU through participating in meetings.

Both parties could discuss and exchange views on national and regional priorities related to agriculture and fisheries sector in terms of programmes, research and specialisations. — ONA

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