30 January 2024, Rome: Today, the FAO Director-General, QU Dongyu, met at FAO headquarters in Rome with His Excellency Abiy Ahmed Ali, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, on occasion of the FAO Agricola Medal Award Ceremony.
The Director-General warmly welcomed His Excellency the Prime Minister to FAO headquarters and conveyed his congratulations for having accepted the prestigious FAO Agricola Medal, the highest award from the FAO Director-General, and noted that this was the first time he was conferring the medal since taking office in 2019. The Director-General informed that over the years, the Agricola Medal had been conferred to eminent world figures in recognition of their extraordinary role in undertaking outstanding and successful efforts in advancing the cause of global food security, poverty alleviation and nutrition, in line with FAO’s mandate.
The Director-General highlighted that the Agricola Medal was being conferred to His Excellency the Prime Minister for his contribution to rural and economic development in Ethiopia, especially for his personal support to the Wheat for Food Self-Sufficiency programme, as well as Ethiopia’s Green Legacy Initiative that was in line with FAO’s Green Cities Initiative.
The Director-General further stated that he had witnessed the impressive development of Ethiopia over the past five years, which reflected the effective, accountable, and stable leadership provided by the Prime Minister, notwithstanding the difficult national, regional, and global challenges over the past years. The Director-General emphasized that this was an important message not only for Ethiopia, but for the African continent as well.
His Excellency the Prime Minister conveyed his deep appreciation to the Director-General and to FAO for the support provided towards the realization of the country’s vision, especially for the development of the agriculture sector. The Prime Minister informed that over the past five years, agricultural land in Ethiopia had been expanded by more than 50 percent, which had led to an increase in production, especially for wheat and rice, and Ethiopia was now the largest wheat exporter in Africa. The Prime Minister further noted that when he had assumed office in 2018, Ethiopia was importing wheat to meet its internal demand and now it was self-sufficient and had been exporting wheat since 2023.
The Director-General concluded by saying that Ethiopia’s success reflects a new alternative for Africa’s development, and that Africa continues to be a focus for FAO, especially by working with key partners for pragmatic actions leading to tangible development.
His Excellency the Prime Minister thanked the Director-General for FAO’s continued support and stated that he would continue to count on the excellent collaboration.
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