5.6 mln dollar grant for FAO from Bill

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New Delhi, June 11 (UNI) The quality of statistical information from 17 countries in sub-Saharan Africa will be dramatically increased with new grant funding of 5.6 million US dollar from the Bill&Melinda Gates Foundation, reported FAO today.

The 5.6 million US dollar grant over two years will allow the 17 countries identified, through the FAO Country Statistics Information System (CountrySTAT), to substantially improve the quality, accessibility, relevance and reliability of their national statistics on food and agriculture. In so doing, it will facilitate planning and decision-making by policymakers and analysts, particularly in the push to reduce hunger and poverty.

''Ensuring reliability of country data is crucial both to governments and to those working with countries to reduce undernourishment and strengthen agricultural and rural development.

With good and reliable data it is much easier to pinpoint where assistance is working, where it may be weak and understanding possible future needs,'' FAO Assistant Director-General for the Economic and Social Development Hafez Ghanem said.

The countries involved in the two-year project are: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

The foundation's Agricultural Development Initiative is working with a wide range of partners to provide millions of small farmers in the developing world - most of whom are women - with tools and opportunities to boost their productivity, increase their incomes and build better lives for themselves and their families. The foundation invests in efforts across the entire agricultural value chain, from seeds and soil to farm management and market access.

Based in Seattle, the foundation is led by CEO Patty Stonesifer and co-chair William H Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett, an FAO release received here from Rome said.

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