Rome -- China and FAO today signed a $50 million agreement to support developing countries in building sustainable food systems and inclusive agricultural value chains, recognizing the growing importance of collaboration between Southern countries in the fight against extreme hunger and poverty.
China's new contribution to the FAO-China South-South Cooperation Trust Fund will support the exchange of Chinese agricultural experts with countries in the global South, particularly in low-income food-deficit areas of Asia and the Pacific, Africa and Latin America, over a period of five years.
'China has made strides in decreasing hunger and has used its own experience to support other countries in doing the same,' FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said during a signing ceremony on the sidelines of the FAO Conference.
'It has become clear that while we have the power to end hunger in our lifetime, we will only succeed if we work together - Southern countries empowering one another by exchanging knowledge and tools is a key part of this,' he added.
Since 1990, China has successfully lifted 138 million of its people out of chronic hunger and reached the World Food Summit Goal, in addition to reaching the Millennium Development Goal of halving the prevalence of hunger ahead of the 2015 deadline.
'China is the leading agricultural producer among the developing countries; FAO is the world's top agricultural organization. We are ready to enhance our cooperation with FAO, which will not only benefit agricultural development and progress toward hunger reduction targets, but also the poor and hungry people of the world,', said Mr Wang Yang, Vice Premier of China, who attended the event.
Mr Han Changuf, Minister for Agriculture of China signed the MoU on behalf of his country.
Partnership of equals
South-South Cooperation has gained prominence in recent years as an innovative approach to development assistance that complements traditional models of development assistance.
Since FAO's South-South Cooperation initiative was established in 1996, China has been a front runner in sharing its agricultural expertise worldwide, deploying so far 1 023 experts and technicians to 25 countries.
This partnership was galvanized by China's establishment of a South-South Cooperation Trust Fund with an initial contribution of $30 million in 2008.
Last October while visiting FAO, Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council of China announced his nation's intention to continue that support with the additional $50 million pledge inked today.
Building on successes
The Trust Fund has supported knowledge exchanges through 11 country projects and two global initiatives in areas such as irrigation, horticulture, livestock protection, and food processing and marketing.
As during the first phase, Chinese experts deployed to host countries will stay for two-to-three years, train local farmers in using adaptable and affordable technologies for crop, animal and water management and build strong day-to-day relationships with the local farmer communities they serve
The second phase will expand on the lessons learned so far, sharing best practices and supporting host countries in developing sound policies, building institutional capacities, facilitating the transfer of new technologies, working with research centres and other partners.
The initiative will also aim to support host governments in formulating agricultural development plans and channelling investment to support greater participation by small- and medium-scale farmers in agricultural value chains.
Host countries will also benefit from access to and collaboration with FAO certified Chinese research and training centres that will promote agricultural innovation at a regional, subregional and national level.