From the podium

From the podium

His Excellency Kim Chang Sik (Minister for Agriculture of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea) (Original language Korean)

On behalf of the delegation of the Government of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, I, first of all, would like to congratulate you on your election as Chairperson of this Summit. I firmly believe that this meeting will be very successful under your able Chairpersonship.

My sincere thanks go to Mr Director-General and his staff, who have initiated this Summit and taken all efforts in ensuring its success. My thanks also go to the Italian Government, our host.

Today, when the food problem is becoming more and more acute and its destructive aftermaths are snowballing, we are faced with the heavy task summing up successes and experiences gained after adoption of the Plan of Action five years ago at the World Food Summit, and of working out realistic and rational modalities for its renewed implementation.

The Plan of Action details all issues in implementing mankind’s historic task of eliminating worldwide poverty, and in establishing a political and economical atmosphere favourable to sustainable food security for all through sustainable agricultural and rural development and enhancement of international cooperation endeavours.

For the last five years the DPR Korea has endeavoured to fully mobilize both human and material potential in the country in order to increase agricultural productivity and hasten the implementation of the Plan of Action of the Summit.

Under the wise leadership of the Great Leader General Kim Jon II, some important measures like increasing Government allocations to agricultural sector, to offset damages caused by the natural disasters that have hit the country several times in recent years, and to decisively increase food production. Priority is being given to strengthening agricultural infrastructure and to expanding arable lands. As a result, land re-zoning for standard-sized plots is briskly taking place and irrigation of farmland is being improved at a fast pace. The Kaechon-Taesong Lake Irrigation Rehabilitation Project for example, has been recently completed with the assistance of the OPEC Fund.

In order to overcome limitations of arable land, a selection of crops has been made and cultivation methods have been improved in conformity with the local conditions. Double-cropping and potato farming are also being promoted, while farmers' opinions are respected in all farm works. At the same time, we pay due attention to diversification of agriculture, and to creating natural pastures and fish farms wherever possible throughout the country in order to improve people's diets without interruption. Last year's grain yield increase of around 1 million metric tonnes attests to the soundness and vitality of the measures being taken by the Government.

The assistance offered by international organizations including FAO, IFAD and others for the rehabilitation of our agricultural sector has substantially contributed to the enhancement of our food security and to implementation of the Plan of Action adopted at the previous Summit. I take this opportunity to extend my thanks in the name of the Government of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, to the Governments, international organizations, agencies and individuals all over the world, who offered assistance to my country's food and agricultural sectors.

At the threshold of a new century, it is a pressing task to thoroughly implement the Plan of Action to eliminate hunger and poverty, and to provide people throughout the world with sufficient amounts of safe food. To this end, my delegation regards that priorities be given to the following issues.

All Governments should reconfirm their political will to implement the Plan of Action of the World Food Summit in conformity with the detailed conditions for their countries, and they should adhere to the principles of fully mobilizing their internal resources in so doing. Every country should establish sustainable food security programmes according to their economic circumstances. This would also suit the interests of the international communities. We consider that it is most important for all Governments to place the attainment of food security as their foremost target. In so doing expenditures should be continuously increased and farmers' incentives should be promoted, while taking all possible measures to push ahead with the Plan of Action.

Our Government will make every effort to realize self-sufficiency as early as possible and to lay the firm foundations for sustainable food security using our own human and material resources.

It is important to establish, on the principle of equality and mutual benefit, international commercial and financial relations conducive to the establishment of food security for all.

As the FAO Secretariat noted, in order to accomplish the goal set at the last Summit, the number of undernourished should be reduced by 20 million every year. It is not an easy job.

It can, by no means, be justified for an individual state to talk about human rights, democracy and modes of state management while ignoring the characteristics and circumstances of others, and to impose its own value system and developmental model when attaching various terms for assistance.

Developed countries should implement with sincerity the targets set by United Nations for directing 9.7 percent of GNP to ODA, and positively respond to appeals for the establishment of a Trust Fund of US$ 500 million recently launched by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Our Government will, in the future too, promote world food security, develop closer cooperative relations with international organizations, including FAO and all Member Nations, and endeavour to implement the Plan of Action of the World Food Summit.

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