6 Aug 2008

Hopes for regional expansion of UN Food and Agriculture programme

8:02 pm on 6 August 2008

It's hoped a United Nations Food and Agriculture (FAO) project in Vanuatu aimed at drying the root crop cassava to mill it into flour will be extended in the region.

Finding ways to extend the cassava crop's shelf-life has been the focus of key research for the FAO - especially for rural farmers who travel long distances to get to the marketplace to sell the product.

The FAO's regional project coordinator on food security, Bismark Crawley, says cassava is one of 26 projects underway in the Pacific region funded by the government of Italy.

The FAO hopes to expand the Vanuatu cassava project to include other Pacific countries and that the process will be applied to other staple crops as well.

"I think the FAO they are looking at an expansion phase of this project, further building on importance of production, especially in consideration of interim soaring food prices etc."

Bismark Crawley, from the FAO's Apia office.