The Secretary of Agriculture – Mrs. Temarama Anguna-Kamana – says she’s looking forward to establishing a positive working relationship with the new Director-General of the United Nations Food and Agricultural Association (UN FAO).
Mrs. Anguna-Kamana and the Minister for Agriculture – Hon. Vainetutai Rose Brown – were present at the 41st session of the FAO in Rome earlier this month where Dr Qu Dongyu from China was elected Director-General (DG).
Since it’s set up in 1945, there have been eight DGs. Like other United Nations appointments, the DG for the FAO is chosen in a one country one vote from a list of people nominated by their home country. Five nominees were oroginally put forward this year but two withdrew before the vote by the representative from the 191 countries present.
The outcome was conclusive with 108 votes for Dr Qu Dongyu, Ms Catherine Geslain-Laneelle of France received 71 votes for second place, and Mr Davit Kirvalidze from Georgia third with 12 votes.
Candidates from Cameroon and India withdrew before the vote.
The FAO has sponsored many projects in the Cook Islands relating to agriculture and horticulture, including assisting with the establishment of a number of high production and high tech orchards on Aitutaki, Rarotonga, Mauke and Mangaia; producing high quality fruits like pineapples, pawpaw, and passion fruit.
Dr Qu Dongyu takes over the role at the beginning of August and his term goes through until the end of July 2023; he takes over from Jose Graziano da Silva who was elected in 2011 and served two consecutive terms.
Mr da Silva has a background of more than 30 years in promoting sustainable food production, security and rural development around the world. He has Brazilian, American and Italian heritage.
Dr Qu is the first Chinese national to hold the post of DG of the FAO and is a biologist by training.