Director-General  QU Dongyu

FAO and Italy strengthen ties to catalyse agri-food systems transformation


2 March 2021, Rome - FAO Director-General QU Dongyu met today with Stefano Patuanelli, Minister for Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies of Italy, who took office two weeks ago.

They discussed ways to enhance collaboration in a number of key areas of common interest, including agri-food systems transformation, addressing hunger and malnutrition as well as the upcoming UN Food Systems Summit, and its pre-Summit in Rome.

The Director-General congratulated the Minister on his appointment, and reiterated FAO’s full support to Italy's G20 Presidency this year.

The Minister underlined the urgent need to address the issue of chronic food insecurity in the world, in particular, in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic and its detrimental impacts on food and agriculture. He expressed Italy’s readiness to place these issues high on the G20 agenda.

The FAO chief stressed the urgency of tackling hunger and malnutrition, pointing out that the pandemic had exposed the fragility of agri-food systems, threatening to push an additional 132 million people to the ranks of the undernourished.

During the meeting the Director-General also expressed his deep appreciation for Italy’s long -standing support – the country is hosting FAO Headquarters since 1951. He noted that FAO stands ready to collaborate with Italy to make its agri-food systems more efficient, more resilient to natural hazards, and more inclusive, bridging the gender gap and the gap between urban and rural populations. Speaking about the way forward, the Director-General cited advanced agricultural techniques such as drip irrigation, securing crop diversity and carbon-neutral crop production as good examples of innovation in agriculture.   

The Minister concurred with the need to invest in the resilience of agri-food systems, reinstating his country’s commitment to address hunger and poverty in the world, as well as to do more to share and promote the country’s agri-food sector knowledge and experience worldwide.

Both agreed on the importance to spur innovation, enabling policies and strategic investments in the agri-food sector, as well as the need for capacity building in digital agriculture.

They also reviewed the joint G20 Green Garden project, which aims to contribute to a historic legacy while offering environmental, aesthetic and recreational benefits for the citizens and visitors of Rome.