Food Security: FAO Seeks Trade Balance

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The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has urged countries to use trade to their local advantage, in order to close the food security gaps.

The United Nation’s agency through its Director-General, Qu Dongyu, also emphasised the need for efficiency gains and balance between agriculture and environmental factors.

He said, “Every country has a different situation, adding that the FAO has to deal with all these differences. Trade is a powerful channel through which the gap can be closed between countries.”

The DG disclosed this at a FAO-World Trade Organisation ( WTO) joint high-level panel at the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture, with the theme; “harnessing trade for achieving Sustainable Development Goal 2”.

According to him, the goal that FAO pursues is to, “improve efficiency” with an eye to sustainability, natural resources and the environment, he added.

“Balancing agriculture and environmental factors is something every country, independent of their economic development stage, will have to do to improve production and efficiency,” the Director-General said.

At the event, a point of consensus was that trade policies should form part of a larger integrated strategy that, among other objectives, enable smallholder farmers in developing countries – who produce a huge share of the world’s food but paradoxically are among the most vulnerable to hunger – to benefit from integration into the world’s agri-food value chains.

“We have to rethink agriculture, including crop production and animal husbandry and our ways of life. The first two Sustainable Development Goals, calling for an eradication of extreme poverty and of hunger, are priorities.

“Digitalisation can help ensure more efficiency, and e-commerce has great potential to help bridge gaps and promote rural development. New approaches to digitalization are needed, because we are already a digital world,” he noted.

With the new Hand-in-Hand Initiative of the FAO, a business model geared to engaging all United Nations agencies, the private and civil sectors and academia to work together to focus on the vulnerable countries and people.