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FAO Director-General calls for seizing opportunities to transform agrifood systems.

The Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Qu Dongyu was re-elected for a second term to serve in office. The re-election occurred at the same time with the 43rd session of FAO Conference (1-7 July).

In his speech to the conference, Qu Dongyu highlighted that global agrifood systems are continuously facing shocks from different dimensions, and emphasized that FAO and its Members should not only focus on the challenges, but also “find opportunities and take action to move forward”.

“We need to start the transformation!” Qu urged, stressing that agrifood systems need to be urgently become more efficient, more inclusive, more resilient and more sustainable.

Transformative actions and robust solutions are needed “so we can move forward into a world of better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life, leaving no one behind” the Director General said, citing the Four Betters that he has embedded in various reforms, initiatives and programmes  implemented since first taking FAO`s helm in 2019.

The drivers of food security

The Director-General focused his intervention on the concepts that define food security, noting the key drivers of availability, accessibility, utilization and stability.

FAO plays a key role in various factors interrelated with those drivers. For example, Qu noted that while food trade, both global and intra-regional, is essential, it in turn is fostered by food safety, a key area of work for the Organization. Likewise, supporting non-food agricultural production can improve rural incomes and thus food access for farmers, he said, noting also that working to reduce Food Loss and Waste is critical to improve utilization.

Bolstering the availability of adequate food rich in micronutrients – a mission clearly reflected in the concepts of Better Production and Better Nutrition – entails providing and leveraging the science, innovation, technologies and know-how to accelerate production, and renewing a focus on healthy foods, the Director-General said. Boosting the supply of the diverse food acquired for these goals will be essential.