Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue T.D., this week met with the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Director General, QU Dongyu, to discuss global food security and Ireland’s close collaboration with FAO on food systems transformation.
FAO is the custodian of UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2, “Zero Hunger”, which is to “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture”. Food insecurity has become a pressing issue for all countries in the world, with conflict being the main driver behind rising global hunger and malnutrition rates, worsened by climate change and COVID 19.
Speaking after the meeting, Minister McConalogue said, “I am delighted to welcome Director General QU to Ireland and to have the opportunity to speak with him on global food security, especially in the context of ongoing conflict, including in Ukraine. We also shared with him our experiences in developing our ten-year agri-food strategy, Food Vision 2030. Food Vision 2030 focusses on “Sustainable Food Systems” and recognises the international dimension of food and agriculture policy. We have a strong relationship with FAO and look forward to continuing to support food systems transformation to achieve a world without hunger by 2030”.
Director General QU Dongyu said, “Food is a basic human right. We must learn from the history lessons of Ireland and the country’s leading role in ensuring food security at global level”.
The Director General also had a meeting with Tom Arnold, Ireland’s special envoy on food systems, who chaired the Food Vision 2030 process.
The visit of Director General QU, who was accompanied by senior officials from FAO, was facilitated by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. It began on Monday at the World Potato Congress and on Tuesday, the Director General had engagements with Bord Bia, including meeting a number of Origin Green food and drink companies, to discuss the importance of sustainability credentials in bringing Ireland’s food and drink offering to customers around the world.
DG QU then visited an Origin Green dairy farm in Wicklow, where farmer Joe Hayden explained his family’s farming tradition and commitment to best practice in sustainable food production
Minister of State Martin Heydon TD later welcomed the Director General to the Teagasc Ashtown Food Research Centre, where Teagasc experts explained their unique role in leading agricultural research, education and advisory services.
Following his meeting with Minister McConalogue on Wednesday, the Director General visited EPIC - The Irish Emigration Museum and met with Minister of State Senator Pippa Hackett for an engagement with the Irish Forum for International Agricultural Development (IFIAD).
Wednesday afternoon Director General QU met with the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney TD. He then paid a courtesy call to President Michael D. Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin.
The Director General's stay concluded on Thursday with a visit to the Food Cloud distribution hub in Tallaght and Manor Farm Lodge in Skerries, Co. Dublin.