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The Launch, hosted by His Excellency Lekhram Soerdjan, Minister of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries, took place at the Royal Torarica, Paramaribo, and was graced by the attendance of His Excellency President Desi Bouterse.
The SAMAP is a four-year European Union [EU] funded project (12.8 million EURO) that aims to boost the marketability of Suriname‘s unique agro-products. The FAO/EU Facility – FIRST is part of a global initiative involving 32 countries, providing policy assistance and capacity development on food security and sustainable agriculture.
“With the support of SAMAP and FIRST, we hope to strengthen the ‘Made in Suriname’, brand that the European and other consumers around the world would identify as quality products”, said EU Ambassador to Suriname, Jernej Videtiĉ, speaking at the launch event. “I foresee a higher interest of European companies to invest in Surinamese agriculture, also because Suriname has clear opportunities for increased production and export,” he added.
Mrs. Terri Raney, FAO Representative to Suriname stated that “the FIRST and SAMAP will be closely collaborating together in order to support the enabling policy environment in which sustainable agriculture development and food and nutrition security can be achieved.”
SAMAP intends to work with farmer organizations, institutions, private sector exporters and agro processors for the mutual goal of more competitive safe and high quality agricultural products that meet internationally recognized food safety standards. It is anticipated by that by 2021, the project’s contributions would impact 1,000 small-scale farmers by helping them to achieve increased horticultural production matched to the demands and standards of export market buyers. The project will also contribute to adoption of better food safety standards.
The FIRST Project supports the Suriname government and stakeholders to implement the national Food and Nutrition Security agenda dealing with production and consumption of safe and sufficient food. FIRST will provide a multi-stakeholder institutional mechanism and produce recommendations for policies and investments to pursue the national Food & Nutrition Security agenda.
The Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Finance, Mr. Jan Tawjoeran, in recognizing past and continued international support said that [Suriname] “must improve the competitiveness of its agriculture sector.” Minister of Agriculture Lekhram Soerdjan noted the importance of linking farmers to export markets and emphasized that “both projects represent a sustainable contribution to addressing the challenges to make SMEs more competitive.”
In bringing the launch to a close President Desi Bouterse highlighted aspects of the country’s development agenda affirming that Suriname is “shifting to a multi-source economy in which sustainable agriculture development is key.”
Suriname- EU relations:
For over 40 years Suriname and the European Union have had a long-standing relationship in many areas, ranging from cooperation and culture to trade. The EU is the primary destination for Suriname’s exports, receiving almost 25% of exports of products such as aluminium, gold, oil, and agricultural produce such as rice, fruit and vegetables, shrimp and fish. EU relations and cooperation with Suriname are carried out both on bilateral and regional basis, the latter within the framework of the on-going EU-CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) and EU-CARIFORUM (Forum of the Caribbean Group of African, Caribbean and Pacific States) dialogues. Suriname is party to the "Cotonou Agreement", the partnership agreement between the members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States and the European Union.