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July 16, 2024
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Visit by the Chairman of the Independent Council of FAO | FAO in India | Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations


The Chairman of the Independent Council of FAO, Mr Khalid Mehboob on his maiden visit to India, interacted with the FAO India team in the New Delhi office.

In an interactive session with the FAO India team, Mr Tomio Shichiri, FAO Representative in India, warmly welcomed Mr Mehboob and spoke of his of his stellar work in various capacities serving FAO for the last five decades. He mentioned that Mr Mehboob played an instrumental role in setting up regional and country offices, including India.

Mr Mehboob lauded the efforts of the then Director General, Edouard Saouma, who was keen on establishing country offices, and despite many challenges, they were able to set up offices for effective operations in the regions.

Thereafter, Mr Shichiri appraised him about FAO’s collaborative work with the UN in India. As part of the UN Reform and the One UN agenda, Mr Shichiri believes that the reforms should be country specific and match to the ground realities of the country. He mentioned that efforts are made to forward the One UN agenda, whereby FAO is collaborating programtically with UN agencies and is also sharing space to have one common premise. At present, the UN House in India hosts 14 UN agencies.

FAOR spoke of FAO India’s priority areas aligning with the priorities of the Government of India (GoI) and the UNSDF (2018 – 22) bringing together international best practices and global standards with national and regional expertise during the four year period of 2019-2022. He spoke of the diversity of the country in terms of geography, landscape and ago-ecological conditions and mentioned some of the new projects and approaches being adopted by FAO India in its current and upcoming projects. He also lay emphasis on India’s role as a technical hub based on the assistance and expertise provided to the GoI and other UN partners.

Mr Konda Reddy, AFAOR further emphasized points raised by Mr Shichiri’s regarding the evolution of the India office, since its establishment in 1977, highlighting some of the global best practices that have been brought to India by FAO projects and technical assistance. He mentioned that FAO has moved from being an implementer of development projects to a facilitator and knowledge partner, adding value to existing technologies and approaches. Knowledge in issues relevant to agriculture in a globalized environment is keenly sought by India for both domestic and export markets. FAO has shared its considerable experience from other countries on food safety standards and agricultural trade. FAO India’s work has gone beyond the realm of food production and its current priorities are in the areas of:

  • Sustainable NRM and improved agriculture productivity, by adopting agro-ecological approach and address issues related to crop production, soil and water management.
  • Enhanced Food and Nutrition Systems addressing key issues such as malnutrition and stunting through Future Smart Fruits, kitchen gardening, aligning with national programmes.
  • Increase resilience to Climate Change, Natural Disasters, and Trans-boundary Cooperation by building farmer reliance, introducing concepts of mixed cropping, natural farming and strengthening AMR activities in India.
  • Increase Farmers’ incomes by improving their skills, enhancing market linkages and value chain integration

 Mr Khalid Mehboob congratulated the India office on their efforts to address issues and themes that are relevant to the country and also align with FAO’s goals. He also spoke of the RBA’s collaboration, which has become more fruitful over a period of time. The three heads of agencies (FAO, WFP and IFAD) meet a few times in the year and there is a growing trend to collaborate at various events and also programtically. He mentioned that there have been efforts to have an umbrella administration system for these three agencies but the current operating systems adopted by the three agencies will need review.

When asked on his view of India’s role in the coming years, Mr Mehboob was of the opinion that India could play a critical role in the area of South-South cooperation to further the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development Goals and as a technical hub for assistance and expertise in fields of agriculture and allied sectors.

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