16 June 2023, Hyderabad: The FAO Director-General, QU Dongyu, today held a bilateral meeting with H.E. Narendra Singh Tomar, Minister for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare of India, on the eve of the G20 Agriculture Ministers Meeting.
The Minister welcomed the Director-General and highlighted the long-standing collaboration between the Government of India and FAO, and affirmed that he looked forward to the continued support and collaboration.
The Director-General expressed his personal commitment to the G20 Agriculture Ministers Meeting and congratulated India for organizing this important event, which provides the platform for Member States to discuss and find solutions to the critical issues of food security, nutrition, and rural transformation.
The Director-General commended the efforts of the Government in ensuring food security and improved nutrition in the country, and emphasized that FAO would support the promotion of India’s good practices to the world. He said that he was impressed with the efforts of the Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation facility in sustaining rural livelihoods through assured irrigation, noting that India’s experiences were pertinent globally.
The Director-General went on to reaffirm his commitment to reforming FAO to better support the needs of Members, and emphasized that the FAO Strategic Framework 2022-31 strived to transform global agrifood systems to be MORE efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable to achieve the Four Betters – better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life. He stressed the need to work together to strengthen global agrifood systems to overcome current challenges, and informed that the key FAO initiatives such as the Hand-in-Hand, 1000 Digital Villages, One Country One Priority Product, as well as South-South and Triangular Cooperation, provided ideal platforms to promote collaboration amongst countries in support of rural development.
The Minister stressed that India’s rural economy and infrastructure were the pillars of the country’s growth and would continue to be important in the future. He confirmed that India was open to sharing the country’s learning and experiences with the world.
Finally, the Director-General complimented the efforts of the Government of India in supporting the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) based in India, and stressed the importance of continuing the support to address the needs of dryland farmers.
The FAO Director-General also had the opportunity to undertake a field visit to the Siddipet district in Telangana where he visited the Kondapochamma Sagar reservoir of the Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation facility, the world’s largest multi-stage lift irrigation project.
During the visit the Director-General congratulated the visionary leadership of national and state leaders in addressing critical irrigation needs of small and marginal farmers to secure rural livelihoods, enhance agricultural productivity and incomes.
Later, the Director-General had the opportunity to interact with farmers at Rythu Vedika (farmer platform) in Makrook village. He was impressed with the improved incomes of farmers and encouraged the farmers to empower women and invest in children’s education. He stressed the importance of sustaining the ongoing efforts by the government and as they contributed to the Four Betters and ensured no one was left behind.
Afterwards, the Director-General visited a seed manufacturing company where he saw the research and production facilities. The Director-General stressed the importance of private sector investment in agricultural research for production of quality farm inputs, improving agricultural productivity and enhancing farmers’ incomes.
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