12 September 2023, Brasilia: The Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), QU Dongyu, kicked off a three-day official visit to Brazil with a meeting with the acting Minister for Agriculture and Livestock, Irajá Lacerda, and a visit to Embrapa Genetic Resources and Biotechnology.
Interim Minister Lacerda congratulated the Director-General on his re-election to head FAO for another four years. He listed various actions that have been taken to boost the agricultural sector in Brazil, such as (i) the launch of a record plan (Safra Plan) worth BRL 364.22 billion to support medium and large rural producers until June 2024; (ii) the strengthening of Embrapa (Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation); and (iii) the launch of a program to help restore 40 million hectares of degraded pasturelands and thus double Brazil’s food production area without deforestation. The Interim Minister also pointed out the strong interest of the Brazilian government for supporting other countries from the Global South to develop their agricultural sectors through international cooperation.
The FAO Director-General highlighted Brazil’s great potential to contribute to global food security and to support other countries through South-South and Triangular Cooperation, particularly in tropical areas, praising the decision to strengthen Embrapa’s capacities.
Qu also noted that Brazil will have a great opportunity to put food and agriculture issues at the top of the international agenda during its G20 Presidency in 2024. In this sense, he stressed that FAO is ready to support the Brazilian presidency of the G20 so that it is impactful, supportive, visionary, meaningful and efficient in terms of fighting hunger and poverty.
They also talked about ways of promoting science and innovation, as well as increasing production and productivity in a sustainable way for better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life.
Following the bilateral meeting with the Interim Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, the FAO Director-General visited Embrapa Genetic Resources and Biotechnology. He followed a presentation by the President of Embrapa, Silvia Massruhá, who spoke about the development of the institution since its establishment 50 years ago, and its future plans, emphasizing sustainability, bioeconomy, contribution to public policies, poverty reduction and innovation.
The Director-General highlighted FAO’s willingness to reinforce its collaboration with Embrapa in supporting other developing countries, which would also include the creation of a FAO-Brazil Knowledge Center.
At Embrapa Genetic Resources and Biotechnology, Qu also visited several laboratories aimed at preserving plant, animal and microorganism species to guarantee and increase genetic variability and food diversity.
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