The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the Economic and Monetary Community of Central African States, known as CEMAC, have signed a US $187,000 agreement for a feasibility study for a regional rural development communication centre to be built in Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic.
The centre, to be known as the Centre Communautaire Multimedia d'Appui au Developpement Rural, would be managed by the Communaute Economique du Bétail, de la Viande et des Ressources Halieutiques, a CEMAC agency in Chad specializing in fishing and fish-breeding techniques.
When completed, the centre would have branches in the six CEMAC member states, where it would train rural communicators and community animators on appropriate pedagogy and methodology of transmitting information to farmers, breeders and fishermen through rural radios or printed materials.
"The centre will be using existing rural radios," Jean-Pierre Ilboudo, an FAO communications officer, said at the signing ceremony on Wednesday.
With the help of farmers, Ilboudo said, rural communicators would provide information on water, fishing, the environment, forestry, farming, management, savings for farm cooperatives, the craft industry, health and the eradication of illiteracy.
"The aim of the centre is to increase revenue for farmers and breeders using communication and training," he said.
Ilboudo, touring the CAR for the launch of the feasibility study, said six experts from Cameroon, CAR, Chad, the Republic of Congo and Equatorial Guinea would in October start identifying needs for the project and submit their report in December.
Then, he said, 11 foreign multidisciplinary experts and their CEMAC counterparts would begin examining the feasibility of building the centre and present their final report in September 2004, when donors would be sought.
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