China"s representative to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization has called for more collaboration between the FAO, its members and development partners to achieve the Belt and Road Initiative"s poverty alleviation goals.
Vincent Martin made the plea at the opening ceremony of the Forum on Agricultural Collaboration in Support of the Belt and Road Initiative, which was in Beijing on Wednesday.
"The aim of FAO collaboration is to maximize the poverty alleviation and rural development impact of Belt and Road Initiative," he said, adding that the initiative involves huge investments in transportation and communications infrastructure.
"Matching these investments with much smaller investments supporting well-designed complementary measures, the Belt and Road Initiative can make very substantial poverty alleviation achievements.
"FAO is well positioned to provide the technical expertise to support the rural development goals of the (initiative), but putting that expertise to work effectively will require the joint efforts of many parties."
Agriculture contributes at least 25 percent of GDP in many Belt and Road countries, yet the greatest concentration of poverty is generally found in rural areas, according to the FAO. It said cooperation provides the best opportunity to fight hunger, eradicate poverty, and achieve food and nutrition security.
The one-day forum saw more than 130 government officials, academics and executives discuss opportunities for agricultural cooperation under the initiative including in the areas of inclusive value chain development, innovation and e-agriculture, and transboundary animal and plant diseases.
The forum was also aimed at collecting feedback and forging partnerships among FAO members, governments, financial institutions, civil society and the private sector.
Martin said the FAO plans to establish a center for agricultural innovation to coordinate efforts and promote cooperation.
The Belt and Road Initiative was proposed by President Xi Jinping in 2013 and aims to build trade and infrastructure networks connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along ancient Silk Road routes.
The FAO leads international efforts to defeat hunger. Its goal is to achieve food security for all and make sure people have regular access to high-quality food to lead active, healthy lives. With more than 194 members, the organization operates in more than 130 countries and regions.