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Premier sows the seeds for farming

ZHAO YINAN in Rome and ZHONG NAN in Guangzhou
Updated: Oct 16,2014 6:36 AM     China Daily

Premier Li Keqiang, accompanied by United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization director-general Jose Graziano da Silva (center), arrives at the UN body’s headquarters in Rome to deliver a speech on the eve of World Food Day.[Photo by RAO AIMIN/XINHUA]

China to offer developing countries more funding and technical support

China will substantially expand a program to offer more funding and technical support to help developing nations put their agricultural growth on a firmer footing, Premier Li Keqiang said on Oct 15.

He said the central government will donate $50 million to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to develop South-to-South cooperation over the next five years as well as enhancing its support for the UN World Food Program and the International Fund for Agricultural Development.

South-to-South cooperation is a term used by policymakers and academics to describe the exchange of resources, technology and knowledge between developing countries.

“Even though global agricultural development has made long-term improvements, starvation and poverty are still threatening more than 800 million people’s livelihoods,” Li said in a speech during his visit to the FAO headquarters in Rome.

To tackle these issues, he said the international community must strengthen cooperation on agricultural development and pay more attention to developing countries, especially the less-developed nations.

China began to help other developing countries to increase their agricultural output through the FAO and South-to-South cooperation mechanism in 1996.

The China-FAO partnership has transformed lives in some 25 countries in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and the South Pacific. It has set up development funds, helped to train agricultural technicians, increased agricultural exports and offered help with the construction of infrastructure projects.

Li said cutting trade protectionism and offering adequate agricultural technologies and funding support to less-developed countries can significantly improve the output of agricultural products and ensure global food security.

China has sent more than 30,000 agricultural experts and technicians abroad in recent years, as well as setting up agricultural demonstration centers and technology promotion and training centers in nearly 100 countries in Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Pacific.

Jose Graziano da Silva, director-general of the FAO, said China has successfully overcome its food problems through hard work over the years, feeding 20 percent of the world’s population with only 9 percent of the arable land and less water.

He said he is glad to hear that China is expecting its grain output to rise for the 11th consecutive year.

The nation’s agricultural sector grew by 450 percent between 1980 and last year, resulting in a much-improved food security situation, according to the latest FAO report on the state of global food insecurity.

Ding Lixin, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Beijing, said Li’s speech shows that China wants to share its experience in developing agriculture with more developing nations.

As demand for food has increased rapidly with global population growth, arable land is now limited and fresh water is also becoming a precious commodity, Ding said.

“Therefore, introducing successful methods, products and equipment to other developing nations is a practical way to help them tackle extreme weather conditions, declining quality of farmland and water shortages.”

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