|Director General of the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) Jose Graziano da Silva delivers a speech during the reception of the 40th anniversary of cooperation between China and FAO in FAO's headquarter in Rome, Italy, on December 2,2013. (Xinhua/Xu Nizhi)|
ROME, Dec. 2 -- China has made great achievements in fighting hunger, halving the number of its undernourished people, Director General of the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) Jose Graziano da Silva said Monday.
"China's achievements against hunger have been impressive," Graziano da Silva said at the FAO Headquarters at a ceremony to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the cooperation between the UN agency and China.
China has reduced the prevalence of its undernourished people from 23 percent in 1990 to 11.4 percent in 2013, he said.
China has registered some of the world's sharpest poverty and hunger reductions in the past 20 years and met the target of reducing by half the proportion of its chronically hungry people, as specified by the first Millennium Development Goal, Graziano da Silva pointed out.
The FAO is proud to have witnessed and contributed to China's tremendous feat of feeding 20 percent of the world's population with only 9 percent of the world's arable land and 6 percent of its freshwater, he added.
The four-decade relationship between the FAO and China has so far been solid and profitable for both sides, according to the head of the UN Food agency.
About 114 million people in China have been lifted out of hunger since 1990, accounting for nearly two-thirds of the total 173 million such people worldwide, according to FAO figures.
Qu Sixi, a senior official with China's Ministry of Agriculture expressed his gratitude to the FAO for years of support and assistance.
The Chinese government considers feeding its more than 1 billion people a top priority in maintaining peace and stability, Qu said.
"China continues to provide incentives to farmers to produce more by promoting independent scientific and technologic innovations and steadily improving overall agricultural production capacity," Qu said.
The FAO has provided technical support and know-how to projects in China and carried out cooperation with China in such fields as policy researches, information exchange and standard making, said Xia Jingyuan,the FAO's permanent representative in China, adding that China has actively supported the FAO's work.
Graziano da Silva praised the active role China has been playing in implementing the South-South Cooperation Initiative.
Under the initiative, about 1,000 Chinese experts have been sent to 25 developing countries to provide technical support and know-how in sectors such as irrigation, livestock, fisheries, crop production and agroforestry, according to Qu.
A new five-year FAO-China cooperation plan is being discussed following the success of the first South-South Initiative, Graziano da Silva announced.
"It is gratifying for FAO to witness China transforming itself from a recipient to a major provider of technical assistance, development solutions and funding to other nations of the global South," he concluded.