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Press Release 00/31

JAPANESE AGRICULTURAL COOPERATIVES LEADER MUTSUTAMI HARADA MEETS THE DIRECTOR-GENERAL OF FAO AND CONFIRMS THIS ORGANIZATION'S COMMITMENT TO FAO'S TELEFOOD CAMPAIGN


Rome, 1 June 2000 - The President of JA-ZENCHU, the Central Union of Japan Agricultural cooperatives, Mr. Mutsutami Harada, had a breakfast meeting today with Dr. Jacques Diouf, the FAO Director-General, to reaffirm his organization's commitment to FAO's TeleFood campaign.

Dr. Diouf and Mr. HaradaMr. Harada was accompanied by a delegation including senior members of the JA Group (the Japanese Agricultural Co-operatives Group), of which JA-ZENCHU is the apex organization.

JA-ZENCHU plays an important role in furthering Japanese agriculture's goals in Japan and around the world, and in providing leadership on how best to achieve these goals. Membership is over nine million and includes almost all farmers in Japan. Members are provided with guidance on farming and lifestyle matters, markets for agricultural products, supplies of production materials and daily necessities, loan and investment funds, insurance against emergencies and facilities for joint use.

During today's meeting, Mr. Harada told the Director-general that JA-ZENCHU had collected approximately US$500,000 for the 1999 TeleFood Campaign to be used in support of TeleFood food production micro-projects in Asian Countries. In previous years, JA Group has contributed US$352,698 to TeleFood, which has been allocated to 34 projects in 10 Asian countries.

Launched in 1997, TeleFood is dedicated to increasing awareness of and solidarity for the campaign to end hunger. Every dollar collected is channelled directly into grassroots development projects designed to give poor rural families the tools and the knowledge they need to made a significant difference in improving their lives.

JA Group, headed by JA-ZENCHU, has been a strong partner of TeleFood since its inception. The JA Group has been carrying out a fund-raising campaign among its member organization and staff in Japan, under the slogan: "Collaboration with Asian Neighbours."

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For more information please contact:

FAO Media Branch Tel. 0039-06-5705 3625
Pina Del Lama, Tel. 0039-06-5705 6515, e-mail: Pina.DelLama@fao.org


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