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Director-General  Qu Dongyu
A statement by FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu
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9 October 2019

Plenary session of the 21st Russian Agroindustrial Exhibition “Golden Autumn – 2019”

It is an honour to attend this International Agroindustrial Forum at the start of the 21st Russian Agro-industrial Exhibition “Golden Autumn - 2019”. I was here 5 years ago, also for the Golden Autumn festival. It’s good that I can see the progress made during the last years under the leadership of the Russian Government, especially by President Putin and Prime Minister Medvedev.

I really appreciate the contribution and progress from Russia. Now I am the FAO DG, newly elected and I have been in office for just 2 months. I really appreciate that to come to International Agroindustrial Forum to discuss and promote the green agriculture, how to transform agro-food system from the traditional to a modern one. This morning I have spoken to the Prime Minister, and we talked about a lot of issues, but an important one was to speed up the transformation of agriculture, from the traditional agriculture to the green one, Digitalization is one of the approaches.

We also have to improve the productivity of food production. Because nowadays we are still facing big challenge: as per FAO statistic, about 821 million people are suffering from hunger, which means 1 out of 9 people goes to bed in hunger. So we have to improve food productivity, and of course we have to improve the food quality. Food quality means less residues of chemicals and other polluted elements. Green production is very essential.

The third challenge that we are facing is that more and more people want to have access to more diversified food. I am from China, and there every day we eat more than one thousand kinds of different food, including different vegetables, fruits. But in western countries, people normally have a limited number of food. So we need to increase food diversity, in particular with the growth of the middle-income class, and that is a challenge for us.

Globally we have to count on innovation, innovation of technologies, new technology for fertilizers, new technology for insecticide, which should be based on international standards and Codex is very important for us to have a green production. Then we have to develop new processing technologies, with less environment pollution, less packing, and less water consuming.

We also have to reduce food loss and food waste. We have spent so much energy and manpower to produce the green food, and finally if it is not properly treated, it will create a lot of loss, food loss. Nowadays, more and more people live in cities. So the consumers, if they do not appreciate the production of food, and they waste too much as garbage, this is not environmental-friendly. This is the case in Russia and in other countries around the world.

And of course we have other issues. We have more and more people suffering from obesity, malnutrition, eating too much and doing less exercises. Also we also consume a lot of food not in a proper way. So consumption pattern and consumption formula are very important. We need to eat well and eat based on science to ensure good nutrition and health. It’s not only a question of food and agriculture. It is a question of health. It is a question of happy family and happy life.

So the agri-food consumption is another issue. By the year of 2050, we will have about 10 billion people. So think about that, how to feed 10 billion people on this planet? We have to establish good policies, good technologies and good management.

So FAO is willing to cooperate with Russia. Russia has a big potential of agri-food production, and in the past 5 years, Russia has made a huge progress. I come to Russia twice a year so I have found that every year you have a bumper harvest. It is a contribution to the world food security.

And you have greater potential to do so more sustainably, with new technologies and new materials, and with the good design of your regional development. Because I met so many governors during the past years. Each state of Russia, different regions have different comparative advantages, you can really design for each region to utilize their advantages in the production of specific high quality products.

So FAO is willing to offer any assistance, and we enjoy the close cooperation through the leadership of the Russian Government. And I am personally committed to having a closer cooperation with you, and to help Africa and other countries that are in most urgent need. And for that, I think it is a win-win situation. When you feed the world better, the world will become more beautiful. Thank you.

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