Rome, Italy (BBN)- The United Nations food agency and Italy have agreed on a $5.2 million program to improve long-term food security for 32,000 poor fishing and farming families in Burma whose livelihoods were disrupted by last year’s Cyclone Nargis.

The Italian-sponsored, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)-managed program will help small-scale farming and fishing communities improve production through the introduction of modern technology, a UN press statement said.

Besides, new employment should be generated and incomes improved by increasing the availability of quality seeds and community-based water management and reviving ecosystems.

“These households join the over 112,000 households that FAO assisted between June 2008 and May 2009, as part of its $17 million cyclone Nargis assistance project and the hundreds of thousands of other families in various parts of Myanmar that FAO is working with and has worked with during its 30 years in this country,” said Shin Imao, FAO’s Representative in Burma, officially known as Myanmar.

Cyclone Nargis hit Burma on 2 May 2008, killing nearly 150,000 people, and leaving many more homeless and without livelihoods.

Giuseppe Cinti, Italy’s Ambassador in Burma, said Italy had already contributed $8 million to Burmese recovery effort, with $6 million going to FAO-implemented projects.

BBN/SS/SI/AD-20May09-4:19 am (BST)