OFID and IAEA sign grant agreement to promote food security and sustainable agriculture in Asia

21.12.2017 | E36/2017

OFID Director-General Suleiman J Al-Herbish (right)and IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano.

December 21, 2017, Vienna, Austria. The OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) has signed a US$600,000 agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to help enhance food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Nepal and Vietnam.

The agreement was signed by OFID Director-General Suleiman J Al-Herbish and IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano. Al-Herbish said: “Grant financing is an important part of OFID’s development operations and we are pleased to be working with the IAEA in support of agricultural in Asia. The two projects will improve food security, and ultimately social and economic growth – two essential elements of the United Nations Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, which OFID has committed to wholeheartedly. It also fits with OFID’s energy-water-food nexus approach to development.”

Al-Herbish continued: “I regard this as yet another milestone in our exemplary partnership and cooperation with the IAEA in support of innovative solutions and interventions for the wellbeing of mankind.”

Yukiya Amano welcomed working with OFID again and emphasized the importance of science and technology in furthering development. He said that the supported projects would go some way to promoting best agricultural practices, benefitting many people on the ground in the targeted communities.

OFID’s grant will support two projects that build on earlier IAEA interventions. The first, which will receive US$200,000, will advance the application of nuclear techniques for the diagnosis and control of trans-boundary animal diseases (TADs), especially foot-and-mouth disease, in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam.

Primary activities will include training in the diagnosis, detection and vaccine control of TADs and the provision of equipment and supplies to animal health laboratories in the recipient countries. These components are expected to boost the capacity of laboratory staff and benefit around 1,400 animal breeders, as well as the population at large due to the anticipated increase in livestock production, higher incomes and improved food security.

Another project will be allocated US$400,000 to promote sustainable rice production systems with a focus on strengthening soil and water management techniques and capacity building among farmers, scientists and national partners in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Lao PDR and Nepal.

The project will benefit targeted populations, especially the poor, who will have access to more affordable, high-quality rice. The improved technologies will also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions that result from rice production.

Since 1989, OFID has extended 12 grants totaling US$2.4 million to the IAEA in support of health and agricultural projects in Africa, Asia and Latin America.