FAO & CropLife International strengthen commitment to promote agri-food systems transformation
QU Dongyu, FAO Director-General, & Giulia Di Tommaso, President & CEO of CropLife International, sign a Letter of Intent to explore new partnerships between the UN Agency & the private sector
2 October 2020, Rome/Brussels – The Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) & CropLife International today renewed & strengthened their commitment to work together & find new ways to transform agri-food systems & promote rural development through on the ground investment & innovation.
During a virtual meeting, FAO Director-General, QU Dongyu, & Giulia Di Tommaso, the President & Chief Executive Officer of CropLife International, signed a Letter of Intent to explore new partnerships between the UN Agency & the private sector. It was the first time that a FAO Director-General delivered a keynote speech to the Board of Directors of CropLife International.
In his opening remarks, Qu stressed the importance of having the private sector onboard in the adoption of concrete steps towards agri-food systems transformation & highlighted the potential of digital technologies in this regard.
“Digitalization is a real engine to transform agri-food systems, from production through processing to the market,” he said, noting that digital technologies can remodel agri-food systems so that production & trade would be driven by consumers. This would also reduce the impact of food loss & waste.
Qu pointed out that FAO has become more & more digital, & it is working towards the implementation of the International Platform for Digital Food & Agriculture, as he invited CropLife International members to work with FAO & its Members.
Referring to the agreement Giulia Di Tommaso described it as a “milestone for both our organizations” saying it would reinforce the common goal shared by FAO & CropLife International to build sustainable food systems, boost farmer resilience to climate change & address zero hunger.
The Director-General also stressed that FAO’s Hand-in-Hand initiative , a country-owned & country-led initiative now operating in 22 countries, needed partners such as CropLife International & its members to drive it forward by contributing valuable technical knowledge, practical know-how & capital.
Hand-in-Hand brings together public & private donors in a matchmaking process to support rural development & eradicate poverty in the world’s most vulnerable countries in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. “FAO is the facilitator, we are the matchmaker,” Qu said.
Beth Bechdol, FAO Deputy Director-General, told the meeting FAO was looking for “on the ground impact” & the UN agency was focused on opening new channels of communication for private sector partners with FAO’s country offices & national governments.
She said that FAO is undergoing a cultural change, becoming more dynamic, forward-looking & opening up to new ways of work & collaboration. In this sense, Bechdol mentioned that the Organization is developing a new strategy for partnerships with the private sector, which will be submitted to evaluation of FAO Members before the end of 2020.
CropLife International board members were enthusiastic about strengthening the organization’s relationship with FAO. Liam Condon, chairman of the CropLife International board, described today’s meeting as the start of a new journey.
Condon, went on to stress the importance of assisting smallholder farmers, saying there was a lot more companies could do together rather than individually, particularly by engaging with FAO & its technical expertise.
CropLife International is a trade association, which promotes agricultural technologies such as pesticides & plant biotechnology. Its members have been working with FAO on a number of initiatives such as improving pesticide management & global action to tackle Fall Armyworm.