China pledges millions to support food security, agri-sustainability

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

Chinese premier Li Keqiang greets the audience ahead of his FAO pledge
Chinese premier Li Keqiang greets the audience ahead of his FAO pledge

Related tags: Graziano da silva, Food security, United nations, Food and agriculture organization, China

China has announced a US$50m donation to the Food and Agriculture Organisation to support the UN body’s programme of "South-South cooperation" to improve food security and promote sustainable agricultural development over the next five years.

Chinese premier Li Keqiang made the announcement in a speech to the FAO ahead of this week’s World Food Day celebrations. It was his first visit to a UN agency since assuming office.

South-South Cooperation is the mutual sharing and exchange of development solutions between and among countries in poor southern-hemisphere countries.

Tackling the "silent crisis​" of hunger and poverty is “a major challenge and common responsibility​,” Li said.

"Food for all is a fundamental human right, upon which all other human rights depend. China has a bitter memory of hunger and wants to see a world free from hunger and poverty. We are willing share our technologies and expertise, without reservation​.”

FAO director-general José Graziano da Silva responded: "We share the same principle that the basic task facing us today is the eradication of hunger. We can achieve it within our lifetimes​."

Graziano da Silva praised China's efforts to tackle food insecurity both at home and abroad. He noted that the country has already achieved the First Millennium Development Goal's hunger target of halving the proportion of its population that experiences hunger, ahead of the 2015 deadline.

Since 1990, China has successfully lifted 138m people out of chronic hunger. This means that globally, two out of every three people who escaped hunger since 1990 were in China, Graziano da Silva noted.

Success in tackling hunger

China's strides on food security have been achieved through a combined approach, Li explained, including providing incentives to family farmers to realise their potential for productivity, supporting science and technological innovation, as well as implementing institutional reforms and providing support for agricultural extension and farmer cooperatives.

In addition to its efforts to modernise food production, the premier also highlighted the "fundamental role​" of family farms, saying that family farmers require support to help them diversify activities, innovate and band together in cooperatives.

The number of farmer cooperatives in China has reached 1m in recent years, he said, allowing small-scale producers to join forces and operate at larger scales.

And Li stressed the need to not only boost food production, but to do so in a way that is ecologically sustainable, in order to "pass on fertile land and blue skies to future generations​”.

A helping hand

Overseas, China has been one of the strongest proponents of the South-South approach to development cooperation.

In 2008 it established a US$30m FAO trust fund to support technical field missions with Chinese agricultural experts in developing countries. So far, 30,000 Chinese experts have shared their knowledge and experience in over 100 countries. 

Over 100,000 farmers and their families have already benefitted from this collaboration and thousands of technicians have been trained in appropriate technical solutions.

Premier Li stressed China's commitment to helping other developing nations, pledging that China "will always be an active force to safeguard food security, working tirelessly to build a world free of hunger​”.

Related topics: Policy, Supply chain, China, East Asia

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1 comment


Posted by ernesto p. cusilit,

as one of the technician (livestock sector) in the south-south cooperation programme by FAO (2006-2007) assigned at Tuvalu i really understood the situation of the locals, perhaps agriculture in this very small country is not feasible for the reasons is that land area is not arrable (rocky) very low soil level, acidic and even coconut and livestock are not so productive. Feed ingredients are all imported that causes high production costs. only if the government concentrate on fisheries which i think could sustained for their livelihood project. however, the locals are so optimism for sustainable agriculture if there is funding support from the government. hope that china can extend full support financially and technical expert to these very small developing countries.

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