Director-General  QU Dongyu
A statement by FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu

 60th anniversary of Consumers International

Address by Dr QU Dongyu, FAO Director-General

17 November 2020

As prepared


Honourable Guests,

Dear Colleagues,

Ladies and Gentlemen, 

1. On behalf of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), I congratulate Consumers International on its 60th anniversary and for your continuous service to the world.

2. Having just celebrated FAO’s 75th anniversary last month, we know the importance of looking back at past achievements, tacking stock and walking with confidence and hope into the future.

3. The transformation of agri-food systems is one of the most important challenges we face.

4. The 2020 Report on the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) shows that our diets are not nourishing us: two billion people globally are food insecure and three billion people cannot afford a healthy diet, while two billion are overweight or obese.

5. Consumers can be the catalyst to drive the transformation in the agri-food system, influencing how food is produced and how far it is transported. Through their purchases, they express their preferences and values, shift food consumption patterns and help shape the decisions producers and retailers make.

6. Our actions today will shape the agri-food systems now and in the future. It is our collective power that we push governments and businesses to move us towards the agri-food systems we need.

7. Consumers can guide and advocate for public sector policies and budget allocations that ensure progress towards achieving zero hunger and malnutrition.

8. There are already examples of how a strong push from consumers has led to positive changes in the food system based on their realities.

9. Here in Italy they have been promoting healthy diets to change consumption pattern.

10. In Chile, legislative instruments on labelling have empowered consumers to make healthy food choices.

11. In Mozambique, the government is working to ensure that school meals are healthy and are linked to direct purchases from local farmers.


12. On 29 September 2020, we observed for the first time, the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste.

13. Food Loss and Waste amid hunger and malnutrition are unethical.

14. Pope Francis tells us that discarding food was like stealing from the world's poor.

15. Wasting food means wasting nutrients and scarce natural resources like land and water.

16. We all can reduce food waste, by changing our behavior when buying, preparing and storing food, more importantly cooking less and no foods leaving on the plate. Since on the dining plate, every single grain means hardship.

17. I invite you to join us in our efforts to promote awareness and educate the consumers, to respect and value farmer’s work, food’s environmental impacts, and reduce eco-foot printing. I expect members of Consumers International to engage with International Platform for Digital Food and Agriculture hosted by FAO.

18. This is not only a civic duty but a way of showing reverence to nature and our planet.  

19. We believe that by cultivating these good habits among consumers starting individual, family and community up to the entire society, food waste will soon be a thing of the past.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

20. This 60th anniversary celebration comes at a time when we are gearing towards the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit.

21. The voice of the consumers in this discussion is of critical importance for many of the reasons I have highlighted earlier.

22. The agri-food systems transformation we seek, needs the support of consumers and to accommodate their concerns since they are driving force to change.

23. FAO reaffirms its collaboration with Consumers International and all partners, in driving the change we need to achieve.

24. Together, we can transform our world, through better production, better nutrition and a better environment for a better life.

25. Thank you!