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FAO, China Forge Alliance to Improve Food Security

FAO, China Forge Alliance to Improve Food Security in Poor Countries

New York, May 18 2006 5:00PM

China will provide further technical assistance to rural communities in developing countries under an agreement reached today between the country’s Government and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Signed in Jakarta by Chinese Vice Minister for Agriculture Zhang Baowen and FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf, the pact paves the way for China to send at least 3,000 of its agricultural experts and technicians to developing countries to provide technical help to small farmers and fishers.

The Chinese-FAO deal is part of the South-South Cooperation Initiative, which aims to strengthen economic relations among developing countries to improve agricultural productivity and ensure access to food for all.

Among the Chinese specialists to be deployed in developing countries are those having practical expertise in irrigation, livestock, fisheries and post-harvest handling. Initially, they will stay abroad for three years.

FAO officials said so far no recipient country has been named as yet.

China is considered a major provider of South-South Cooperation experts, and has already signed various agreements with Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mali, Mauritania and Nigeria, and as well as with 14 small island developing nations.

“Chinese science and agriculture have much to offer, as intensive agriculture has been practiced on very small plots of land in China for centuries,” said Tesfai Tecle, FAO Assistant Director-General for Technical Cooperation, noting that China had “repeatedly demonstrated its commitment” to helping other countries improve their food security.

China, according to Tecle, represents a “major contribution” towards the achievement of the World Food Summit and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of halving hunger by 2015.

The South-South Cooperation is also part of the FAO’s Special Programme for Food Security designed to improve lives in some of the poorest countries by rapidly increasing food production and accessibility and reducing vulnerability to climatic events such as droughts and floods.

Currently, more than 100 countries are taking part in that Programme, with more than 600 South-South Cooperation experts and technicians working with rural communities in over 30 countries.

ENDS

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