By Gustavo BecerraCUBA is not only receiving the benefits of the UN Food and Agriculture organization (FAO) but also has become a close collaborator of that international agency in aid to other nations.Francisco Arias Milla, the FAO representative in Havana, informed Granma International that, as one example of that cooperation, there is an agreement with the Cuban authorities giving the agency up to 200 technical personnel from the island for its diverse projects, principally in Africa, South America and the Caribbean, and that there is an interest in increasing that figure to 300.Currently, some 40 specialists are on FAO missions. “They are not only taking their technological knowledge, but also their discipline and work ethics,” Arias Milla added.Just before the end of four-and-a-half years as representative in Cuba of that UN agency, Arias expressed his thanks to the government “for the solid support that it has offered us.” There is a strong institutional relation between the two parties that Jacques Diouf, its director general is interested in maintaining and developing, he said.In recent years, the FAO has undertaken various initiatives on the island directed at supporting the authorities’ efforts to achieve food security, confront drought and develop an ecologically sustainable agriculture, among others.In a brief overview, Arias recalled that Cuba is a founding member of the FAO and that cooperation between the two became closer after the triumph of the Revolution with the initiation of joint projects in areas like fishing and forestry, particularly in the creation of research centers.A Salvadoran and agronomist by profession, Francisco Aria Milla has 34 years of experience in 27 international institutions, via which he has worked in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Mexico, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Burundi, Nigeria, the Ivory Coast, India, Malaysia, Italy and the Dominican Republic.His next destination is Venezuela, where part of his mission is to support that nation’s joint initiatives with Cuba in the framework of that grand integrationist project called the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA), he explained.Speaking of his fruitful stay in Cuba, he affirmed: “The only thing that I regret is not having come earlier.”
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