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FAO calls for more agro-collaboration under Belt and Road .cn,January 18, 2018 Adjust font size:

The Forum on Agricultural Collaboration in Support of the Belt and Road Initiative hosted by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and organized by Center for International Agricultural Research, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science, was held in Beijing on January 17, 2018. More than 160 government officials, academics and executives from different sectors discussed opportunities for agricultural cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Vincent Martin, FAO representative in China, made the opening remark and keynote statement at the opening ceremony. 

"The Belt and Road Initiative involves huge investments in transportation and communications infrastructure,” said Martin. ”Matching these investments with much smaller investments supporting well-designed complementary measures, the Belt and Road Initiative can make very substantial poverty alleviation achievements. FAO is well positioned to provide the technical expertise to support the rural development goals of the BRI, but putting that expertise to work effectively will require the joint efforts of many parties.” 

Martin said that China has a long agricultural history, and agricultural trade was an important part of the ancient Silk Road. Today, agriculture still accounts for 25 percent or more of GDP in many Belt and Road countries, while the greatest concentration of poverty is generally found in rural areas. Agricultural cooperation provides the best opportunity to fight hunger, eradicate poverty, and achieve food and nutrition security. A revitalized agricultural sector also creates opportunities for youth employment and rural entrepreneurship. 

Ma Hongtao, Deputy Director-General of the Department of International Cooperation of the Ministry of Agriculture, said that agricultural cooperation is the focus and highlight of the Belt and Road Initiative. With the active participation of all parties, countries along the Belt and Road have enhanced agricultural exchanges and cooperation. 

During the one-day forum, participants discussed opportunities for agricultural cooperation under the BRI in the areas of promoting inclusive value chain development, bringing innovation to the field through E-agriculture, control of transboundary animal and plant diseases through a One Health approach, as well as innovation and partnership. 

The forum also aimed to collect and solicit feedback while seeking partnerships for future collaboration between the FAO, governments, financial institutions, civil society as well as the private sector.

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