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Director General  José Graziano da Silva

FAO Director-General welcomes Malaysia’s contribution to agricultural development in Africa

A letter of intent expresses interest to establish an office in the country

FAO Director-General planting a Yellow Rain tree.

12 September 2014,  PutraJaya, Malaysia  - FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva  today met with Malaysia’s Minister for Agriculture and Agro-based Industries, Dato’ Sri Ismail Sabri bin YaaKob, to discuss collaboration between FAO and the country and signed a letter of intent to establish a liaison office in Malaysia.

Graziano da Silva highlighted how Malaysia’s experience in food and agriculture issues, including agricultural technologies as well as its land management expertise, will aid African countries to overcome extreme poverty and hunger.

Malaysian R&D to help African development

FAO Director-General expressed his gratitude to the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI) for its contribution to the development of these sectors in Nigeria, Mali, Malawi, Suriname and Brunei. 

 “We are looking forward to working with FAO to improve the nutritional value of food and agricultural products important to healthy food habits,” stated the MARDI director, Dato’ Haron Sariff. 

To commemorate this visit José Graziano da Silva planted the unique Yellow Rain tree particular to Malaysia at the campus.

Reducing food losses

The Minister expressed Malaysia’s interest to reduce post-harvest food losses along the food supply chain.

Malaysia has embarked on a programme to reduce post-harvest losses, aiming to increase at agricultural productivity by 40 percent  by 2020. 

Discussions also touched upon forestry and fisheries issues both in Malaysia and in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries.

Reducing poverty through partnerships

Graziano da Silva visited the Federal Land Development Authority (FELDA), where he attended a presentation on Malaysia’s “Poverty Reduction” programme.

FELDA Senior Vice-President  explained how the programme,  which started in 1956, “is grounded on a public and private sector partnership to address the problem of rural landlessness and poverty by transforming land schemes into settlements, rubber and oil palm plantations.”

He also stressed how it has contributed to “drastically” reduce poverty to less than 1 percent in rural areas.   

Graziano da Silva reiterated that partnerships are crucial to address today’s food security challenges.

Minister YaaKob asked FAO’s support in capacity building training for  the country to better address the climate change effects on agriculture, specifically tropical peat land in Malaysia.

The FAO chief invited the Malaysian government to the Third Ministerial Meeting on Governance and International Commodity Markets, being held in Rome and the upcoming Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2).