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

Meeting with the CropLife International Board of Directors

Opening Remarks by Dr QU Dongyu, Director-General, FAO

2 October 2020

As prepared



Ladies and Gentlemen,

1. I am pleased to meet the CropLife International Board of Directors virtually today.

2. CropLife International is a leading advocate for the plant science industry, championing the role of agricultural innovations in crop protection and plant biotechnology.

3. FAO and CropLife International have a long-standing collaboration on pesticides and pest management.

4. We share complementary goals and objectives as well as the passion to improve agriculture through innovation and responsible use of plant science technologies worldwide.

5. FAO considers the private sector’s role vital in achieving the 2030 agenda and in transforming agri-food systems.

6. Today, I would like to share with you several key messages on how to scale up our future partnership through diverse modalities.

7. First, the FAO COVID-19 Response and Recovery Programme.

8. COVID-19 has brought about a crisis of a magnitude without parallel in modern times.

9. In July, FAO launched a comprehensive COVID-19 Response and Recovery Programme, designed to mitigate the immediate socio-economic impacts, while strengthening the long-term resilience of food systems and livelihoods - in line with the UN approach to “build to transform” and in pursuit of the SDGs.

10. The programme spans seven key priority areas from Global Humanitarian Response Plan to Food System Transformation.

11. It calls for USD 1.3 billion and welcomes wide-ranging in-kind contributions - FAO cannot do it alone – we count on partnerships to prevent the health crisis from becoming a large-scale food crisis.

12. Second, the Hand-in-Hand Initiative.

13. Less than a year ago, I launched the Hand-in-Hand Initiative with the aim of accelerating agricultural transformation and sustainable rural development to eradicate poverty (SDG 1) and end hunger and all forms of malnutrition (SDG2).

14. The initiative prioritizes countries where national capacities and international support are the most limited or where operational challenges, including natural- or man-made crises, are the greatest.

15. It is a country-owned and country-led initiative, using advanced geospatial data analytical tools to identify both constraints and potentials for food insecure countries to develop sustainable agri-food production and enhance rural value chain services. 

16. The Initiative is also a matchmaking process, bringing public donors or private sector investment to support the roadmap of addressing constraints and unlocking the potentials in these countries.

17. So far, 22 countries have joined, and the number will likely double before the end of the year.

18. The Hand-in-Hand Initiative requires world-class partners such as CropLife International and its members, like Syngenta, for the technical knowledge, practical know-how, innovative technologies, access to markets, appropriate mechanization as well as in-kind contributions, or finance and investment.

19. Third, FAO’s Global Action for Fall Armyworm Control programme.

20. The Fall Armyworm is devastating crops around the globe, affecting the poorest nations in particular.

21. Our programme works to ensure: early warning, Integrated Pest Management; reducing crop yield losses; and lowering the risk of further spread.

22. To scale up the implementation of this ambitious programme in Africa, Near East and Asia-Pacific, 500 million USD and in-kind partnerships are needed.

23. Demonstration plots and farmer field schools primarily target eight demonstration countries – Burkina Faso, Cameroon, China, Egypt, India, Kenya, Malawi and the Philippines.

24. These countries represent approximately 50 percent of the total maize devastation across Africa, Asia, and the Near East.

       This Global Action is already bearing fruit:

  • Global Steering and Technical Committees – where CropLife international is a lead partner;
  • The International Plant Protection Convention is engaging national and regional plant protection organizations;
  • Farmer Field Schools are training tens of thousands of farmers and extension agents;
  • FAO’s dedicated mobile application is being distributed to thousands of farmers in 44 countries; and the technical website offers relevant key information.

25. For all of this we need the best knowledge and experience. This leads me to the next focus of FAO I want to share with you:

26. Fourth, FAO’s new Private Sector Engagement Strategy.

27. The strategy will elevate our collaboration and partnership with the private sector at country level, focusing on, among other:

  • Sharing of data and information;
  • Working together to define norms and standards; and
  • Learning from each other on how to build, manage and sustain viable business ecosystems.

28. The strategy foresees expanded areas of engagement, such as technology and innovation, data, investment and innovative financing and SDGs alignment. Through extensive consultations with the Private Sector, the Strategy already has strong support.

29. Finally, for the way forward, let us build on our 10-year partnership, that has worked to reduce obsolete pesticide stocks, strengthen policy dialogue on sound pesticides management and advance global actions to tackle Fall Armyworm.

30. Our joint Letter of Intent will allow us to combine our efforts even further and explore more collaboration in the strategic areas outlined today.

31. I am confident to see even more solid results of our partnership at the country, regional and global levels in the coming future!

Thank you.