FAO optimistic about positive transformations of agrifood systems despite challenges

Food and Agriculture Organization Qu Dongyu. (Photo by Baris Seckin/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) remains optimistic about positive transformations of agrifood systems despite the challenging global food security conditions, according to Qu Dongyu, the agency’s Director-General.

Qu made the remarks in his address to a Joint Meeting of the 133rd Session of the Programme Committee and the 191st Session of the Finance Committee.

He pointed out, among other things, a growing pace of public investment in agriculture sectors, increasing water use efficiency, slowing deforestation rates and improving access rights for small-scale fisheries as reasons to remain optimistic in the quest for sustainable agrifood systems.

He however also acknowledged that factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic, war and other conflicts, the climate crisis, food insecurity “hotspots” and associated economic slowdowns, continue to take a heavy toll on agriculture, food security and rural development.

Qu also noted that the ongoing conflict in Ukraine had impacted global food security, having pushed up food prices, energy and fertilizers, and put the next global harvests and food security at risk.

“FAO stands in solidarity with all those affected by this war, and other conflicts and humanitarian emergencies across the world,” Qu said.

The FAO Director-General appealed to donors to continue supporting the agency’s work financially to enable it deliver its agenda.

“We are at a critical moment in time, even more critical than when we last met,” he said.