China broadens role in helping FAO to promote food security

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock

Related tags: Graziano da silva, Food security, Agriculture, Food and agriculture organization

Ancient Chinese agricultural systems will benefit poor rural areas in countries as far afield as in Africa and Latin America after officials in Beijing agreed to intensify their partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations.

The new memorandum of understanding will broaden the scope of China’s role in worldwide rural development after decades of collaboration with the FAO.

According to the FAO’s director general, China has been one of the biggest contributors to FAO food security programmes, both in financial terms and by sharing its own experience, knowledge and technology with other countries.

"China has much to offer to all developing countries in the world in terms of agriculture and food security​," Graziano da Silva said, citing an ancient farming system whereby farmers in Zhejiang Province still combine rice farming with aquaculture, and literally grow fish in flooded paddy fields.

While the rice paddies offer protection and organic food for the fish, the fish in turn soften the soil, provide nutrients and oxygen for the rice and consume insects and weeds that are harmful to the rice.

The rice-fish system has been in existence for 1,000 years and was designated a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System (GIAHS) by the FAO.

"China's experience with GIAHS is remarkable and could be a source of inspiration to many countries​," said Graziano da Silva.

Related topics: Policy

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