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FAO hails China's role in fighting hunger

2013-05-17 11:38 Xinhua     Web Editor: Mo Hong'e comment

The head of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said Thursday China has become a major ally of the UN agency in many of its priorities, praising the country's role in fighting hunger and tackling food price volatility.

Jose Graziano da Silva, director general of FAO, made the remarks before his upcoming visit to China to present a joint report of the global agricultural outlook for 10 years with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

In an interview with Xinhua, Graziano da Silva said China has become FAO's major ally in areas like reducing hunger worldwide, stepping up south-south cooperation and balancing the organization's budget to stabilizing world food prices through the new Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS).

AMIS is G20 initiative launched in June 2011, aimed to introduce more transparency into world food markets and forecast the short-term market outlook for wheat, corn, rice and soybeans.

"The transparency of information from China and other countries helped avert a crisis," Graziano da Silva said. "For example, when there was a drought in the U.S., it should have driven wheat and corn prices higher. But because of 'AMIS,' countries could see that production from other areas was enough to compensate, and a crisis was avoided."

"We are living in this global system now, and what happens in one country has an immediate impact on others," Graziano da Silva noted. "China understands that and is doing its part."

Meanwhile, the UN agency chief said China also emerged as a significant supporter of south-south cooperation and is "on the verge of reaching its millennium goals (of eradicating extreme poverty and hunger) by reducing the number of hungry people in the country by more than 100 million."

On China's role in FAO's budget, Graziano da Silva said that China would soon become the sixth biggest contributor to FAO's budget, compared with the eighth just two years ago.

According to the FAO director general, the OECD-FAO report is one of the most important sources of information OECD and FAO produce each year. This year, the two organizations studied in depth China's 10-year agricultural outlook with China's Ministry of Agriculture.

He said China is the special feature of the report this year, "in view of China's rapid growth in agricultural production, consumption and trade, and in the context of the issues the country may face in the future and their implications for the rest of world".

It is the first time that FAO and OECD officially present their joint report in China. "Being the focus of this year's Outlook, China is a natural choice for launching the new edition of the OECD-FAO report," Graziano da Silva said.

The June 4-7 trip to Beijing will be Graziano da Silva's second visit to China since he took over the reins at FAO nearly 18 months ago.

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