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Director General  José Graziano da Silva

US and FAO share focus on “tough issues” around nutrition

US Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Krysta Harden in talks with Graziano da Silva

9 June 2015, Rome – United States Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, Krysta Harden, today met FAO Director-General, José Graziano da Silva, for talks that focused on nutrition and biotechnology.

Deputy Secretary Harden, who attended FAO’s governing Conference, said she was “very pleased” with its outcomes. “It was my first one (Conference) so I did not know what to expect. I think it was very well organized.”

“I’ve heard that in the past there has been debate over budget and other issues, so it’s great to be here when it’s a time that folks are really looking at the real needs around the world and at hunger and how we can all work together,” she said.

She welcomed the FAO Director-General’s leadership, which she described as helping to build trust and a spirit of cooperation among Member countries.

Speaking after her meeting with the FAO Director-General, she said that they had “talked a lot about nutrition and about how to make sure that we are working together and continuing to look at some of these tough issues.”

Agricultural biotechnologies

The US Deputy Secretary of Agriculture said her discussion with Graziano da Silva also focused on biotechnology and the FAO Symposium on Agricultural Biotechnologies to be held in Rome in February 2016.

“We certainly talked … about some of the outcomes that we expect from that (the Symposium) and the good discussions and awareness when looking at the science of biotechnology,” she said.

Deputy Secretary Harden said she hoped to continue the conversation when the FAO Director General is scheduled to visit the US later this year.

Farming background

Asked about her planned visit to a farm near Rome later this week, Deputy Secretary Harden described her family background as “the daughter of farmers from the southern part of the US,” and that when she travels, either in the US or abroad, she always tries to “take time to visit with farmers to hear their perspectives, their concerns.”

“And I really talk with women. I go to their farms. Women and agriculture is not a new thing, women have been farming forever, but we don’t always recognize their contributions and really value the role they are playing in the agriculture sector,” she said.