Sultan Qaboos University and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) signed a Letter of Understanding (LoU) concerning the efforts to build-up agriculture and fisheries sector capacities to support smallholders at national and regional levels. The agreement was signed at FAO representation Office in Muscat by H.H. Sayyidah Dr. Mona Fahad Al Said, Assistant Vice Chancellor for International Cooperation, SQU and H.E José Graziano da Silva, Director General of the FAO on Thursday, 24 January 2019.
This collaboration will enhance the delivery of FAO’s mandate to “collect, analyze, interpret, and disseminate information relating to nutrition and, food security”. The collaboration is in direct support to FAO’s strategic objectives to make agriculture and fisheries sectors more productive and sustainable and to improve livelihoods of small-scale family farmers through joint support to the three FAO’s Regional Initiatives on Small Scale Family Farming, on water scarcity and building resilience for food security and nutrition.
The LoU seeks to support and strengthen capacities in the following areas: (1) Generate, exchange and disseminate knowledge and data related to the Agriculture and Fisheries sector in Oman in forms of joint articles, videos, research papers and studies and publications; (2) Development of a FAO publications library within SQU to increase access for professors, professionals and students of FAO’s knowledge products; (3) Contribute to the SQU’s Master Programs of Food Science and Nutrition or Marine Science and Fisheries and other relevant programs through FAO’s contribution to curriculum development and provision of lectures on mutually-agreed topics in FAO’s area of expertise; and, (4) Access to and uptake of FAO’s e-Learning products at SQU on food security, nutrition and agriculture themes.
As per the LoU, FAO will provide technical support on joint projects to facilitate and provide access to tools, methodologies and materials to contribute to the development and implementation on FAO-SQU projects; and identify and support mobilization of technical experts to the development and implementation on FAO-SQU projects.
The LoU includes clauses pertaining to organization and delivery of joint events to promote sustainable and productive practices of agriculture and fisheries sectors in Oman and raise awareness of small-scale family farming, including support to occasions such as World Food Day, Rural Women’s Day, World Water Day, etc. The two parties may agree to build institutional capacities in areas of mutual interest through mobilization of experts and staff within FAO’s Internship, Volunteer and Fellowship Programme, South-South Cooperation, Triangular Cooperation and other forms of collaboration.
FAO will provide non-binding advice to the board of the College of Agricultural & Marine Sciences at SQU through participating in meetings. Both parties could discuss and exchange views on national and regional priorities related to agriculture and fisheries sector in terms of programs, research and specializations.