The Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), QU Dongyu, has said that up to 80 per cent of the world’s population in 20 to 30 years will live in cities, a situation that will make urban areas the driving force for the way food systems must evolve,
To that end, he said “We have to rethink agriculture, including crop production and animal husbandry … and our ways of life.”
He further noted that digitalization 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.”
The Director-General pointed to FAO’s new Hand-in-Hand Initiative as a “new 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.
The first two Sustainable Development Goals, calling for an eradication of extreme poverty and of hunger, are priorities, he said.
Touching on Food security, he said Trade is a way that countries can tap their own local advantages and close food security gaps.
“Every country has a different situation and FAO has to deal with all these differences,” he said. Trade is a powerful channel through which the gap can be closed between countries , he added at a FAO-WTO joint high-level panel at the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture exploring the theme of “harnessing trade for achieving Sustainable Development Goal 2”.
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.