The projects will ultimately improve social and economic growth, said Suleiman J Al-Herbish, director-general of Opec’s Fund for International Development.
The finance will support two projects initially begun by the IAEA. The first, which will receive US$200,000, is intended to advance the application of nuclear techniques for the diagnosis and control of foot-and-mouth disease in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.
Better food security in livestock
This will include training in the diagnosis, detection and vaccine control of trans-boundary animal diseases and the provision of equipment and supplies to animal health laboratories in the recipient countries.
These components are expected to boost the capacity of laboratory staff and benefit around 1,400 animal breeders, increase livestock production to bring higher incomes and improved food security.
Sustainable rice systems for the underprivileged
Another project will be allocated $400,000 to promote sustainable rice production systems with a focus on strengthening soil and water management techniques and capacity-building among farmers and scientists in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos and Nepal.
The project will benefit targeted populations, especially the underprivileged, who will have access to more affordable, high-quality rice. The improved technologies will also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions that result from rice production.
Yukiya Amano, director-general of IAEA, welcomed the partnership and emphasised the importance of science and technology in furthering development. He said the supported projects would go a long way in promoting best agricultural practices and benefit many people on the ground in the targeted communities.
Since 1989, OFID has extended 12 grants totalling US$2.4 million to the IAEA in support of health and agricultural projects in Africa, Asia and Latin America.