Director-General  QU Dongyu

FAO Director-General joins event in the US Midwest with agriculture sector leaders to discuss the role of innovation in global agrifood systems


Leesburg, Indiana, USA - Today the Director-General attended an event hosted by Kip Tom, former US Ambassador of the US Mission to the UN agencies in Rome, entitled The Role of Innovation in Global Food Systems.  The event was held on a working farm and was attended by farmers, the private sector, academia, trade associations, government officials, FAO leadership and others, and showcased how agricultural innovations have, and will continue to, transform production and our agrifood systems.

The Director-General provided opening remarks at the event.  He extended his appreciation to Kip Tom for inviting him to the event which convenes actors from across the agriculture sector, and touched upon the importance of science, research and innovation in agrifood systems.  The Director-General also stressed the importance of listening to farmers, extensionists, scientists, academia and private sector actors to ensure continuous learning along the entire value chain.

He also stressed that the work of FAO, with its broad mandate, is centered on the transformation of agrifood systems to be MORE efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable for better productionbetter nutrition, a better environment, and a better life, leaving no one behind.

The Director-General also reminded the audience of FAO’s roots in North America, recalling that almost 80 years have passed since the first United Nations Conference on Food and Agriculture was held in May 1943 in Hot Springs, Virginia, which led to the establishment of FAO in 1945. 

The remainder of the event was organized around three dynamic panel discussions, with question and answer sessions, that touched upon the themes of science, innovation and technology; digital solutions in the context of climate smart agriculture; and the general challenges faced by agrifood systems globally.

Panelists discussed how the private sector, public universities, and farmers partner to collectively increase sustainable production, and how agriculture is increasingly being recognized as a critical solution pathway for attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

To achieve these outcomes, panelists noted that agriculture sector actors must be able to depend on ‘all tools in the toolbox’; have access to and utilize innovation and technology; enable farmers to do their job as efficiently and affordably as possible; maximize participation in agriculture through financing, investments and enabling policies; and many others.

Finally, the Director-General also invited all of the participants to participate in the World Food Forum, the Science and Innovation Forum, and the Hand-in-Hand Investment Forum, and engage in discussions with other leaders and players in the agriculture sectors in order to catalyze action.  The events will all take place in Rome, Italy during the week of 17-21 October 2022.