The São Tomé government and the United Nations in the country today launched a joint project valued at $ 1.6 million dollars (1.5 million euros) to value local products and promote the sustainable well-being of São Toméans.
The project lasts 24 months and is financed by the Joint Sustainable Development Goals Fund for Small Island States and co-implemented by four agencies of the United Nations (UN), International Labor Organization (ILO), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN-HABITAT) and World Food Program (WFP).
At the launch ceremony, the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development, Francisco Ramos, expressed the commitment of the São Toméan to this process, considering that it will benefit São Tomé and Príncipe. "Through the construction of an agri-food hub" in the community of Uba Budu, in the district of Cantagalo, will be equipped with innovative technologies for the processing, conservation and storage of locally produced food in suitable conditions so that they can be marketed and consumed in longer periods".
The minister considers that this project, "will contribute to the reduction of food imports", contribute to food and nutritional security in the country, and also "help the Government in the fight against unemployment, creating several direct and indirect jobs, especially in a approach to valuing women's work and young people".
Francisco Ramos stressed, although São Tomé and Príncipe has climatic conditions for the production of various crops and products, the country has an import of maize flour that is around 850 tons a year and dry beans almost 500 tons because it does not have infrastructures equipped with technologies capable of guaranteeing the production in quantity and quality and the processing of these cultures.
The authorities intend to expand the project launched today with a view to building a sustainable and environmentally friendly agri-food industry system in São Tomé and the Autonomous Region of Príncipe, to improve local food production, processing, storage and conservation.
"We intend to transform maize into maize flour, drying beans to be sold on the national market and also for export," said Edna Perez, head of the WFP office in São Tomé and Príncipe.
"We will also invest in public policies to ensure that products that are processed in this community can meet international standards for processed products," he added.
The representative of the United Nations, Eric Overvest, "a very important and innovative project that has a social component that works with the issues of gender violence, alcoholism" and other social problems".
"We want to support with green technologies for better storage and processing of local products" said the UN resident coordinator in São Tomé and Príncipe.
In its pilot phase, the project will be implemented in the community of Uba Budu, District of Cantagalo.