Decoding China: Vision of agriculture benefits the people and the world
Updated 18:58, 29-Jun-2023
Decision Makers

Editor's Note: Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era is China-centered, internationally applicable; it caters to the present and is geared towards the future. In CGTN's Decoding China series, domestic and international high-profile officials and experts from various fields share their experience and talk about Chinese governance and its global implication. In the first installment, China Representative of UN World Food Programme Dr. Qu Sixi looks at Xi's Thought from the perspective of global food security and China's poverty alleviation, and examines China's experience and success in strengthening domestic food security.

CGTN: As you know, China has about 20 percent of the global population, but only nine percent of the global arable land. Chinese President Xi Jinping has prioritized agriculture. So, my question is, what has China done right for its national food security?

Qu Sixi: China's success in feeding its 1.4 billion population is really a miracle. It's also a significant contribution to the whole world in terms of food security. Such experience has become a shining example for countries seeking to replicate this kind of success.

China has given high regards to food security as a top priority for state governance and national stability through rural reform and innovative agricultural development initiatives, as well as its poverty alleviation and rural vitalization programs. Its national strategy for food security features self-sufficiency based on domestic grain production, guaranteed food production capacity, moderate imports, grain reserve and technological support.

Also, China focuses on putting people at the center, enabling safe and dignified access to food and nutrition.

Right now, WFP China actively introduces China's experiences in improving food security and nutrition, especially the applicable and innovative approaches, to provide ideas and reference for other developing countries.

CGTN: Chinese President Xi Jinping pointed out the bottom line of rural revitalization is to build on poverty alleviation management. What do you think of the Chinese leadership's poverty alleviation management? And have the WFP and China made some innovation in this respect?

Qu Sixi: China has a wealth of poverty alleviation experience, such as government-led programs, broad social participation, policy innovation, excellent monitoring and evaluation mechanism and also emphasis on science and technology application. All those can be widely shared with the other developing countries.

The success of China's anti-poverty campaign is an important contribution to the global poverty reduction. It also reflects Chinese leadership's strong capabilities of organizational execution and effective poverty alleviation management, such as social mobilization and coordination, resource integration, policy implementation and so on.

Under the new circumstances, to carry out some innovative projects in China is one of the important pillars for our cooperation with China. We are piloting, right now, a pre-school nutrition innovation, the overwhelming majority of the beneficiaries in the pilots are children left-behind or from low-income families or relocated families. We are also piloting smallholder support initiatives through strengthening their value-chain development capacity and resilience ability. 

CGTN: In the past four decades, China advanced from a food aid recipient to an increasingly significant donor to the WFP's global aid program. To beef up global food security, what can the world learn from the collaboration between the WFP and China?

Qu Sixi: In the past, WFP implemented 70 large-scale grant assistance projects in China, contributing to China's rural and agricultural development. These projects are quite successful ecologically, economically and socially, providing good references and examples for other developing countries.

In the current context, China is a valued partner of the WFP in tackling hunger and strengthening livelihoods, resilience and nutrition globally.

Recognizing China's tremendous achievements in reducing hunger and the importance of sharing experience with other countries, WFP China has stepped up its commitment to support South-South and Triangular Cooperation since 2016. We promote mutual sharing on food security and nutrition improvement through policy dialogues, technical trainings and field demonstrations, engaging over 90 countries across Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

An online knowledge sharing platform was launched for stakeholders, including those from China, to easily recognize the demands of partner countries, and share SDG-focused solutions.

CGTN: This is the million-dollar question: In 2023, will the global food security crisis end? In our research, we found that in February this year, heads of five UN organizations made a joint statement, addressing the worsening of the food and nutrition crisis in the world. So, will it end, this year?

Qu Sixi: It's a good question but also very challenging for me. As the WFP marks its 60th anniversary this year, we find ourselves in the midst of the greatest and most complex food security crisis in modern times, meaning years of progress against poverty and hunger are being wiped out. The population facing high levels of acute food insecurity has increased for the fourth consecutive year.

Driven by persistent conflict, pre-existing and COVID-19-related economic shocks, and also weather extremes, more than 345 million people are now facing a high level of food insecurity, according to World Food Programme's analysis, an increase of almost 200 million since early 2020. Of these, 43 million are just one step away from the famine.

The current global food crisis underscores the urgent need to transform national food systems. To this end, the coordinated multilateral effort across governments, institutions, the private sector and civil society is needed to amplify our efforts and mobilize the needed resources to build resilience and ensure sustainable food systems, building on the success stories that can inspire and accelerate the achievement of a world without hunger.

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