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Minas K. Papademetriou*

*Senior Plant Production and Protection Officer, FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, 39 Phra Atit Road, Banglamphu, Bangkok 10200, Thailand.
Allow me to welcome you to the FAO Regional Office and to this Expert Consultation. You may wish to know that this Consultation has been organized and sponsored by the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific. I am grateful to all of you for coming here to contribute to this Meeting.

The grape is one of the finest fruits and the most strength-giving food. It contains many of the most valuable elements necessary for life. In addition, it is known to have commendable medicinal qualities/properties, and it has been used in naturotherapy for centuries.

Remarkable success has been achieved in grape production and yield levels in certain countries of the Region, while in others the progress is very limited. The opportunities for further development of the grape industry appear to be good. However, at the same time, the problems to be addressed are many and serious. There is a need and scope for enhancing the development of the grape industry for economic, food and nutrition purposes as well as other reasons.

Strengthening cooperation among countries, institutions and individual scientists in grape development is very important. A forum like this will allow us to learn from each other. We must explore the possibilities of sharing our experiences for mutual benefit. It is in this context, that this Consultation has been convened. Briefly, its objectives are the following:

a) To review the status of grape production in Asia and the Pacific, discuss the problems faced as well as strategies required to overcome existing problems.

b) Elaborate on the potential and opportunities for grape development.

c) Discuss ways and means of strengthening collaboration on grape research and development.

I wish you all productive discussions and good contacts among one another for the exchange of information and experience.

Thank you for your attention.

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