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A statement by FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva

China achieves first of UN Millennium Development Goals: FAO chief


By Alessandra Cardone, Liu Yu, published on 02 December 2013 by Peopledaily

China is among the 62 countries that have achieved the first Millennium Development Goal, namely halving extreme poverty rates by 2015, chief of the Rome-based UN food agency has told Xinhua in an exclusive interview recently.

"This is an outstanding achievement," Director General of the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) Jose Graziano da Silva said, adding that "The numbers of China, on the whole, are very impressive: the country feeds around 20 percent of the world's population with only 9 percent of arable land and 6 percent of freshwater. This is a very good example."

"I can really say that it was basically due to China's achievements if we were able to push down the total number of undernourished people in the world from 1 billion to 840 million over the last years," he said.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of cooperation between the FAO and China, which has been solid and successful, said Graziano da Silva.

Throughout the four decades, FAO has been supporting more than 400 projects in China in many sectors such as agriculture, fishery, forestry.

China's expertise in combining rice farming and fish production is a successful model that would be of great help to the global fight against malnutrition, Graziano da Silva said.

"This peculiar combination of aquaculture and rice production is very rare, such expertise belongs only to a few countries like China, Vietnam and Laos," he said.

"It is really a perfect approach to the food security because it combines rice that is one of the staple food in the world and protein that is needed to avoid malnutrition especially in children," Graziano da Silva said. "We would like to improve this combination in African countries and also in other Asian countries, and China could help much in this," he added.

Meanwhile, Graziano da Silva highlighted the importance of China as one of the major supporters of FAO programs for food security. "It has been one of the most important countries supporting the changes FAO has been trying to implement in the world," he told Xinhua.

The ongoing partnership between FAO and China could act as a stepping-stone toward achieving greater success in the future, and an important stage will be the Milan Expo 2015, Graziano da Silva said.

"Milan Expo 2015 is really going to be an international appointment. Our approach during the Expo will be focused on one issue - how we can feed the world in a sustainable manner - and this is quite related to China because, as I said, China is a good example of achieving such a goal.