Zim hosts FAO conference

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ZIMBABWE will host Food and Agriculture Organisation’s 31st Africa Regional Conference from March 23 to 27 in Victoria Falls to be attended by more than 500 delegates from all over Africa despite the coronavirus scare.

Minister of Agriculture Perrance Shiri told journalists yesterday in the capital that the conference would run under the theme ‘‘Agriculture and rural transformation in Africa: promoting inclusive agribusiness and regional integration for attainment of sustainable development goals’’.

“The conference…will draw over 450 foreign delegates from 54 African member states, 10 member countries outside the region, intergovernmental organisations, heads of diplomatic missions in Zimbabwe, civil society organisations, local organisations, other members of the United Nations, specialised agencies and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA),” Shiri said.

The minister said the conference would go ahead despite the threat of coronavirus which has killed close to 3 300 and infected over 95 700 worldwide.

“Considering the high numbers of people that are expected to attend the event, the government of Zimbabwe has put in place precautionary measures to deal with the potential menace of the coronavirus,” said Shiri.
If it goes ahead, the FAO conference would be the second international event to be hosted by Zimbabwe within a month. Late last month, Zimbabwe hosted the 6th Annual Regional Conference on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which was attended by over 3 000 international and local delegates.

“Hosting the 31st Africa Regional Conference will afford the local ministers, departments and organisations the opportunity to participate in the technical discussions, presentations and formulation of regional positions. This will allow them to better articulate and drive matters relating to agricultural and rural transformations in Africa, focusing on agribusiness and regional integration.

“The event will also afford business people and development partners the opportunity to make their products and services known, through exhibitions, creating synergies and opportunities for collaboration with regional and international partners in agribusiness. Also, the many delegates who will attend the conference will provide an opportunity for provision of tourism services, thus increasing awareness of tourism opportunities in Zimbabwe,” Shiri said.

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