ASTANA – The President met with the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN) Qu Dongyu on Jan. 19 at Rome’s headquarters, reported the Akorda press service.
During the meeting, Tokayev outlined the importance of ensuring global food security and promoting sustainable development of the agro-industrial complex.
“Food shortage is one of the most pressing problems on the global agenda. Being among the leaders in the production of grain crops, Kazakhstan seeks to contribute to solving this problem. The volume of wheat exports reaches nearly 6 million tons. We are among the top 10 large producers of grain and flour,” noted the President.
The President expressed Kazakhstan’s interest in UN expert support on improving seed production, combating agricultural land degradation, promoting green agriculture, rational and efficient use of water and land resources. As part of the participation in the FAO global action on One Country One Priority Product (OCOP), aimed at developing sustainable production and trade chains for the marketing of unique local agricultural products, Tokayev presented Qu with the Almaty aport apples.
“Kazakhstan is widely known as the birthplace of apples. Aport apples grow in the vicinity of Almaty, the largest metropolis in our country. We intend to work together to bring this variety to world markets. I rely on your personal support in promoting this initiative,” the President said.
Tokayev also spoke about the country’s priorities as chair of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (IFAS) and the Islamic Organization for Food Security (IOFS) and called on FAO to support the development of projects for land reclamation in the Aral basin and water resources management. He also proposed creating the FAO subregional office for Central Asia in Kazakhstan.
During the meeting with the Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme (WFP) Cindy Lou McCain, Tokayev spoke about the measures taken by Kazakhstan to ensure global food security and provide humanitarian assistance through international organizations, including the IOFS and the UN.
In 2023, Kazakhstan provided humanitarian assistance to six countries for $9.2 million. Given the tough humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, Kazakhstan donated $1 million to the Palestinian people and delivered two shipments of humanitarian aid. Financial assistance was also provided to Afghanistan, Türkiye, Pakistan and other countries affected by natural disasters.
The President paid special attention to the situation in Afghanistan. In his opinion, it is extremely important that the international community continues to make efforts to prevent a humanitarian crisis in this country.
According to Tokayev, work is currently underway to create a UN Regional Center for Sustainable Development Goals for Central Asia and Afghanistan in Almaty. The activities of this center will streamline interdepartmental coordination of the UN in Central Asia to strengthen regional peace, security and sustainable development.
Following the meetings, Tokayev invited Qu and McCain to take part in the upcoming Astana International Forum.