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Director General  José Graziano da Silva

Talks with China’s Vice Minister for Agriculture

Focus on the country’s lead role in South-South cooperation projects

4 April 2016, Rome – The FAO Director-General and China’s Vice Minister for Agriculture, Dongyu Qu, today discussedthe country’s lead role in promoting South-South Cooperation (SSC) projects, which help developing countries share and transfer knowledge and expertise to further innovation and good practices.

China is the most important partner and largest contributor to FAO’s SSC programme.

“FAO’s long-lasting and smooth cooperation with China is very important for us, specially when we think about the Sustainable Development Goals, which top the agenda in our country,” the Vice Minister said. “We want to make a practical contribution to global food security and share our experience with less developed countries. We hope FAO will play a leading role in promoting agricultural development in innovative ways,” he added noting that challenges to Chinese agriculture still remain.

FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said he would like to see the definition of South South Cooperation programmes go beyond the current technical cooperation and expand it to parliamentary exchanges and bringing farmers and fishermen together to exchange their knowledge and experience.

“It is amazing to see what happens when you bring farmers together”, said Graziano da Silva. “They have their own language. It is indigenous knowledge,” the Vice Minister said.

The FAO Director-General said he hopes to see a rice-fish culture,  one of the country’s  Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems recognized by FAO, when he next visits China. The GIAHS are recognized for their contribution to food and nutrition security, as well as for delivering important benefits to the ecosystem.  “These are one of the most important tools we have at FAO-- there is a reason why they have worked for such a long time,” Graziano da Silva said.

Both discussed a round table on South-South cooperation between China and the three Rome-based agencies to be held in June in China, the host country for this year’s G20 summit.

FAO’s Director-General also invited China to sign and ratify the Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing.

New South-South Cooperation Program in Democratic Republic of Congo

Following the meeting, the Vice Minister today signed a two‑year agreement with FAO and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) worth almost $ 1.5 million aimed at increasing food and nutrition security in the conflict-ravaged African nation.

The deal establishes a new South-South Cooperation partnership which will make Chinese technical advice and expertise available to DRC’s agriculture sector.

SSC projects help developing countries share and transfer knowledge and expertise among themselves, so that innovations and good practices that have been tried and tested elsewhere in the global South can benefit other countries facing similar challenges.

The FAO-China SSC programme supports agricultural and rural development in 28 countries. The initiative involves two investments of $80 million and has fielded over 1 000 experts in the areas of irrigation, aquaculture, horticulture, livestock, crop production, agroforestry, agricultural mechanization and agribusiness.

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