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Director General awards Ceres Medal to the President of Argentina

The award recognizes the efforts of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner in the search for food security and sustainable development

Photo: ©FAO/Lucas Tavares
Argentine president Cristina Kirchner receiving the Ceres medal from FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf

6 December 2010, Mar del Plata – Praising her commitment to the fight against hunger, FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf awarded the Ceres Medal to the President of Argentina, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

The Ceres Medal, inspired by the Roman goddess of agriculture, is the highest award given by FAO to women who have made an important contribution to food security and sustainable development.

Diouf awarded the medal in a ceremony attended by heads of state and government participating in the Iberian-American Summit that took place Saturday in Mar del Plata, Argentina.

In his speech, the Director-General said that the current international economic crisis and food price volatility still threaten developing countries and are huge challenges to its leaders. He called the Argentine President’s work in favour of international food security an inspiration to all. 

A major grain exporter

Over the last decade, Argentina has doubled its food production. FAO forecasts that in 2011 total grain production in Argentina will pass the 100 million tonnes mark,  making the country one of the world’s major exporters.

Thanking the Director-General for the honor accorded her, Kirchner said that the 21st century presents the world with a “terrible paradox”, one in which unprecedented technological development exists alongside people dying of hunger.

“These two vectors must converge at some point to stop what truly is a genocide caused by hunger,” said the President, advocating the need to guarantee every citizen’s right to food.

She added that states play a unique role in guaranteeing food security and one that can’t be delegated. “Markets cannot feed those who don’t have access to food”, stated Kirchner.

At the ceremony, Jacques Diouf recalled that the Argentine President has signed the “1billionhungry” petition and hailed the country’s leading role in many important FAO initiatives, such as the reform of the Committee on Food Security.

The Director-General also thanked the country for hosting the World Forest Congress in 2009, the Subcommittee on Fish Trade in 2010 and for its decision to host the next FAO Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean in 2012.

Ties strengthened

During his visit, the Director-General and the Argentine Secretary of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Lorenzo Basso, inaugurated FAO’s new offices in Buenos Aires and signed a memorandum of cooperation. According to Basso, this reaffirms Argentina’s commitment to work with FAO.

Since 1980, FAO has implemented over 95 technical cooperation projects in Argentina.