Director-General  QU Dongyu

Read-out of the meeting between FAO Director-General QU Dongyu, Dr Jim Godfrey, Chair Board of Trustees of International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and Dr Jean Balié, Director-General, (IRRI)


Today, 1 April 2021, the FAO Director-General, QU Dongyu, had a virtual meeting, with Dr Jim Godfrey, Chair Board of Trustees of International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and Dr Jean Balié, Director-General, (IRRI). The Director-General welcomed the IRRI’s new Director General and expressed his appreciation for FAO and IRRI’s long-standing partnership and work on the ground.

During the meeting Dr Godfrey and Dr Balié shared with the Director-General their vision and plans for IRRI in the context of a reformed Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centres (CGIAR). They informed him of how they are looking at building science and evidence based solutions to transform the rice sector, through closer cooperation and interaction with all stakeholders (from smallholder farmers, producers, policy makers to the private sector).

The two noted that to address the challenges they would be looking at the global interconnectedness and pursue new metrics, beyond yield and nutritional value, to identify solutions, given the critical role of rice in food security. The two also informed the Director-General about the CGIAR reform and the work they are undertaking with Africa Rice.

The Director-General welcomed the initiatives and shared with them insights of his experiences with the CGIAR as well as his work in the potato sector as Vice Minister of Agriculture and scientist. He noted the need for an integrated approach, comprised of interdisciplinary teams to work on value-added solutions. He stressed the necessity to break down silos and to design programmes that address production, processing and consumer needs, underlining that these programmes would need to identify best practices and be efficient and inclusive.

The Director-General also noted that transforming the agri-food systems entails the identification of comprehensive solutions which also address natural resource scarcity (water, soil and biodiversity) and produce solutions (varieties) that better address consumer needs, mitigate climate change and are more sustainable.

The meeting agreed on the importance of coherent joint action and the potential synergies FAO and IRRI can continue to create for the benefit of farmers and consumers worldwide.