FAO Director-General meets with Iran’s Minister for Jihad-e-Agriculture
27 February 2014, Rome – FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva met with Iran’s Minister for Jihad-e-Agriculture, Mahmoud Hojjati, at FAO headquarters today.
The two leaders discussed issues of mutual interest for FAO and the country and agreed to step up the implementation phase of a range of projects. “Iran has great expertise in many areas that it could share with the region,” said the FAO chief.
Graziano da Silva highlighted the fisheries sector and South-South Cooperation as two of the main areas of collaboration to explore. Minister Hojjati noted that he shares the Director-General’s view on South-South Cooperation and explained that he would be interested in setting up a centre for knowledge transfer.
“Iran has inmense experience and great achievements and I have offered Iran’s support to FAO in implementing regional priorities,” the Minister added.
The Minister especially thanked FAO for its response to the critical issue of oak dieback in Zagros forest in Iran, where the Organization’s expertise played a fundamental role.
The principals also discussed the peaceful use of nuclear power in agriculture, namely for insect sterilization purposes and for drought resistance enhancement.
The Minister underlined that the joint work of FAO, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) would be a significant contribution to agricultural development.
The Minister also advocated for an efficient use of fresh water resources. In that respect, Minister Hojjati expressed his hope for concrete resolutions on water scarcity initiatives from FAO’s Near East Regional Conference, which was held in Rome. .
The Islamic Republic of Iran is one of the countries most affected by water scarcity, where fresh water represents only 1% of the available hydrological resources.
In the context of the International Year of Family Farming, the Minister mentioned that Iranian agriculture is mainly composed of family farms and underlined the need for concerted approaches to support them.