Japan, UNIDO invest in food security, women projects in Gabon
London, April 17, 2019 (AltAfrica)-The Government of Japan has agreed to fund a $ 419, 682 project to improve livelihoods in Gabon through strengthened food security, contributing to the achievement of the National Strategic Plan “Gabon Emergent” and the “Ten-year plan for empowerment of women in Gabon.”
This is one of nine new projects implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) around the world with Japanese funding totalling US$5.8 million.
Gabon is characterized by an abundance of natural resources, but the decline of its oil reserves and the drop in international oil prices triggered a prolonged economic and financial crisis.
To overcome this, the government is seeking to further diversify its economy and promote non-oil sectors, like agro-industry. However, the country’s quality infrastructure, which plays a vital role in any socio-economic development, is still lagging behind despite important improvements that have been achieved in recent years through UNIDO projects.
Thanks to the support of the Japanese government, UNIDO will continue to strengthen Gabon’s economic competitiveness, boost access to international markets, and improve livelihoods by enhancing the country’s quality infrastructure and training consumers and women producers.
This project will provide direct technical assistance to inspection and market surveillance institutions and women small-scale food producers to help them comply with international standards.
It will also raise awareness of the importance of quality among consumers and the private sector and will support national institutions in the integration of regional quality initiatives.
Building the awareness of consumers on the importance of food quality will allow them to make informed decisions and choose better and healthier nutritional intake.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will receive support to ensure that their products meet the expectations of consumers. Likewise, the national quality system will be strengthened to provide SMEs with the services required to ensure the quality of their processes and products.
The pre-diagnosis of enterprises will be carried out and various training sessions with case studies drawn from the experiences of different beneficiary companies will be designed.
“Enhancing women capacities is an important component of the project, as they play an important role in the Gabonese economy and are responsible for the transformation of around 60 per cent of the national food production,” said Juan Pablo Dávila, UNIDO Project Manager. “This intervention will contribute to greater economic inclusion of women entrepreneurs.”
The project will build on the results achieved through the Quality Infrastructure for Central Africa Programme (PIQAC). In Gabon, workshops organized in partnership with the Ministry of Trade Promotion and SMEs helped establish a network of women producers.
Through this new project, women producers and processors of agricultural products will be trained on quality awareness, good hygienic practices and design and management of health risk plans.
The new Japan-funded project will be implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises of Gabon, the Ministry of Industry and the Gabonese Standardization Agency (AGANOR).