FAO, NAREI launch virtual Agroecology training

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has partnered with the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI) for a two-day Tool for Agroecology Performance Evaluation (TAPE) virtual training.

TAPE is an innovative framework established to provide policy makers and stakeholders with information on how agroecology can contribute to sustainable food and agricultural systems.

FAO Country Representative, Dr. Gillian Smith and NAREI’s CEO Jagnarine Singh hold the LOA.

The exercise targets several youths from the Central Rupununi district and NAREI’s extension officers.

FAO Country Representative, Dr. Gillian Smith said the forum forms part of the project, “Enhancing production of and access to nutrition dense food through social protection programmes.”

She said the initiative was conceptualised over a year ago, with the aim of providing a case study on how the livelihoods of farmers could be supported, while improving nutrition of school-age children.

In May, FAO and NAREI signed a Letter of Agreement (LOA) to understand the agro-ecological status of smallholder farms in two Administrative Regions; explore the synergies that exist on the ground between social protection programmes and develop farmer field school curricula that would be linked to implementation of a pilot home grown school feeding programme.

“FAO and NAREI have historically shared a great collaboration and we are excited to support the agency to complete this very important LOA within the given timelines; but more importantly colleagues, it is not just about meeting the deadlines and spending the funds, it is more so about ensuring that this innovative change effort is made sustainable beyond the life of this LOA and the Project,” Dr. Smith said.

NAREI’s Chief Executive Officer, Jagnarine Singh underscored that the initiative will create guaranteed market for farmers which will lead to food sustainability.

“We will continue to make sure that the agriculture sector in Guyana grows from strength to strength. I cannot over-emphasise the fact that the Minister of Agriculture continues to talk about this, His Excellency, Dr. Ali continues to talk about this, that Guyana is rightfully taking its place in CARICOM as the breadbasket as it relates to agriculture,” Singh noted.

Participants at the virtual training.

Meanwhile, Agroecology and Livestock Specialist, Dario Lucantoni explained the importance of TAPE, noting that it uses agroecology for measuring the performance of any kind of agricultural system across the different dimensions (social, economic, environmental, health and governance.)

He said TAPE collects data at the farm level, but provide information and results at community and territorial level.

Further, he said diversification is key to agroecological transitions to ensure food security and nutrition while conserving, protecting and enhancing natural resources.

Meanwhile, for the first time in the history of TAPE, the methodology will be administered within the context of school feeding and social protection programmatic areas. The Administration was able to customise the data collection tool to capture field data on social protection programmes, which will be administered by 23 enumerators identified from NAREI, to over 200 households in Regions Five and Nine. 

Agroecology is sustainable farming that works with nature.

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