An Official Ceremony was held here on Wednesday to mark the handover between the UN Food & Agriculture Organisation (FAO) outgoing Chief Jose Graziano Da Silva and the new Director General of the Agency, Qu Dongyu.

Qu, China’s Vice Minister of Agriculture & Rural Affairs since 2015 had been elected with a large majority for the post during the 41st FAO Conference that gathered here in June.

Qu is the First Chinese Official to serve as Director General of FAO, since the organisation’s inception.

His mandate officially runs from August 1 to July 31, 2023, succeeding Brazilian Jose Graziano Da Silva, who has served as the agency’s top head for two consecutive terms since January 2012 (after being elected in June 2011 and confirmed in 2015).

Born in China’s southern province of Hunan in 1963, Qu can boast an extensive background in the agricultural field.

He graduated with a Bachelor Degree from the Hunan Agricultural College in 1983, and obtained a Master Degree in plant breeding and genetics from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS).

He achieved his PhD in Agriculture and Environmental Sciences from the Wageningen University in the Netherlands in 1996.

Before being appointed Vice Minister at China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs in June 2015, he served as Director General of the Institute of Vegetables and Flowers of the CAAS between 2000 and 2002, and as Vice President of the CAAS between 2001 and 2008.

Once appointed Vice Minister of Agriculture, among various tasks, Qu worked on promoting a market-oriented development of agriculture supported by IT, launching a mechanism of exchange on urban agriculture among big and medium-sized cities in China, and encouraging agriculture brand building and speciality industries.

Still according to his official candidate profile, the scientist contributed to the formulation of crucial domestic policy papers, including China’s 13th Five-year Plan for International Agricultural Cooperation and the Vision and Actions for Joint Promotion of Agriculture Cooperation under the Belt & Road Initiative.

He was also extensively involved in international cooperation in the field, including the activities of the ASEAN plus China, Japan, and Republic of Korea cooperation mechanism, and the design of several South-South Cooperation flagship projects with FAO, the World Bank, and other international agencies.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation was founded in Quebec City, Canada, in 1945. It comprises of 194 member states, plus one member organisation (the European Union) and two associate members (the Faroe Islands and Tokelau).

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