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China to donate $50m to FAO

Updated: Oct 15,2014 6:49 PM     Xinhua

ROME -- Visiting Premier Li Keqiang said in Rome on Oct 15 that China will donate $50 million in the next five years to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Li announced the decision in a speech at the FAO headquarters in Rome during a visit to the UN organ on the eve of World Food Day, which falls on Oct 16 every year.

The new fund from the Chinese government, said the premier, will be used to promote South-South cooperation.

As the biggest developing country in the world, China will always be an active force in maintaining food security, and is ready to work with other countries to create a hunger-free and poverty-free world with sustained development, he added.

Food is a fundamental right for human existence, Li said, while hunger and poverty remain hidden crises, and still pose great threats to the human society, despite that many countries have made remarkable achievements in agriculture.

Echoing the theme of World Food Day, “Family Farming: Feeding the world, caring for the earth,” Li said family farming is also suitable to Chinese conditions.

China’s reform began with a contract system for family farming in rural areas three decades ago, which has managed to feed most of the Chinese people and helped several hundred millions of them out of poverty.

Agriculture in China has to improve the economy of scale on a path of modernization, Li said. The Chinese government will ensure the fundamental role of family farming in agriculture, push forward innovation in agricultural production, guarantee farmers’ right of land, respect their wills and encourage the transfer of land use rights among them.

The Chinese government always attaches great importance to agriculture and the sustainable development of agriculture, the premier said. China has used its own farm land and water resources, which are below the world’s average level in quantity, to sustain 20 percent of the global population.

China will also strengthen ecological protection and construction, leaving a nice environment and farming resources to the generations to come, he said.

The Premier said hunger relief and poverty reduction, two major challenges to the whole world, are shared responsibilities of the international community.

More than 800 million people in the world are still faced with lack of food or malnutrition, Li warned, urging the international community to strengthen agricultural cooperation and pay great attention to developing countries, particularly the least-developed ones.

Li called for other countries to reduce trade protection, supply the least-developed countries with technologies and fund for developing agriculture, and further increase agricultural production and the level of food security.

China in recent years established agricultural technology demonstration centers, labs and technology transfer centers in nearly 100 countries and organized more than 30,000 professional visits to those countries for technological training, he said.

China is willing to share agricultural technologies, equipment and the idea of developing agriculture with all other countries, the premier said, promising to offer agricultural assistance to other developing countries under the framework of the South-South cooperation.

FAO Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva thanked the Chinese government for its additional contribution to South-South cooperation, which is aimed mainly at improving world food security.

He said China is a defender of global food security, a promoter of the world’s poverty reduction and a pace-maker of the millennium development goals.

It is widely recognized that China’s achievements in food security and poverty reduction have made huge contribution to this global cause.