20 July 2021, Rome: The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Chinese Academy of Tropical Agricultural Sciences (CATAS) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), setting out a path for their continued cooperation in the field of tropical agricultural science and technology.
The MoU was signed virtually by Ismahane Elouafi, FAO’s Chief Scientist, and LIU Guodao, Vice President of CATAS for International Cooperation. The partnership will build on the work that both FAO and CATAS currently undertake to improve food security across tropical countries and alleviate poverty through agriculture and technology.
“I am delighted that FAO is further strengthening its scientific collaboration with CATAS, a valued and long-standing partner. Together, we will continue investigating the ways and means to improve tropical agriculture with new technologies and upscale innovation so that we end hunger once and for all, leaving no one behind,” said Elouafi.
For his part, Liu Guodao said that “the signing of the MOU will further deepen the cooperation between FAO and CATAS, and realise the sharing of new varieties and technologies of CATAS in tropical regions of the world through FAO”.
“Tropical agriculture has made a great contribution to ensuring global food security. If the tropics are good, the world will be good!” he added.
Working to improve tropical agriculture
The MoU will strengthen cooperation between the two parties in various areas, including the Tropical Agriculture Platform (TAP), an initiative created by the G20, supported by the European Union and led by FAO. The platform focuses on the development of national capacities for agricultural innovation in the tropics, an area in which many developing countries are located and where the capacity gap is especially wide. CATAS is already a member of the TAP platform, and as part of the MoU it will further the implementation of TAP Action Plans and participate in TAP activities led by FAO.
CATAS will also cooperate with FAO in South-South cooperation through training programmes on tropical agricultural technology and soft skills, like negotiation and communication, tropical agricultural technology transfer and policy planning suggestions, through FAO’s Reference Center for Tropical Agricultural Research and Training.
According to the MoU, FAO and CATAS will also work together on research and technologies in the areas of future-smart agriculture, mountain agriculture and green agriculture, to improve nutrition and capacity in sustainable agricultural development . The partnership will also work on the breeding and cultivation of stress-resistant crop varieties, such as drought and cold resistant crop varieties, as well as prevention and control of tropical crop pests and diseases, especially transboundary plant pests and diseases.
FAO and CATAS have worked together on many initiatives in the past, many of which were in the field of tropical agriculture. CATAS has been providing its expertise and supporting technology transfer to the Tropical Agriculture Platform (TAP) and the World Banana Forum, both of which are hosted by FAO, with CATAS also contributing expertise on the Future of Smart Food Initiative and contributing as a guest panelist at the FAO-Future of Food Institute’s recent 24-hour marathon.
CATAS is a national scientific research institution engaged in tropical agricultural science and technology research, achievement of transformation and talent cultivation in China. It has the mandate to promote the innovation of tropical agricultural science and technology in China, speed up poverty alleviation of farmers and increase their income in those areas.