5 July 2019
Dear professors from Tsinghua University,
colleagues from China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation (CFPA)
and Honghe County Government,
and dear hard working students,
It is a pleasure to be invited to this inspiring event here at the CFPA. I look forward to learning from you - the youth engaging in innovation within the field of food and agriculture – and hopefully also help inspire you to continue your efforts to come up with new ideas that can contribute to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals.
When I attended the incubation event of the Innovation Lab, last summer, I was very impressed with what I saw. The Tsinghua University students participating last year were able to come up with to answer key challenges in the agricultural sector. Within the 8-week service design course, the students were also able to adopt the design-thinking methods to define, ideate, prototype and test their solutions.
Four main areas were identified last year – which we all can agree – are important for the agriculture sector: the application of ICT to agricultural technology extension and poverty reduction, the issue of food safety, e-commerce for agricultural products, and finally the conservation of traditional agriculture. The solution designed by the winning team, which is an ICT for Agricultural technology extension will be incubated through an FAO project in China. Encourage by the success from last year, I am eager learn about the innovations that this year’s students have come up with.
This year you have had the opportunity to tackle a very concrete and specific problem, namely preserving and developing the Hani Ethnicity’s Rice production and commercialization, which FAO recognizes as one of the Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS). It is often that when tasked, with a very specific problem that the best solutions emerge. Solutions that could hopefully be scaled-up and applied also to other similar challenges.
Before I hand over to you, let’s remember that agricultural growth is one of the most powerful pathways for raising the income of the most vulnerable, tackling poverty and promoting economic sustainability. Today, innovation in the food and Agriculture sectors is critical for improving agricultural productivity and output, farmers’ income, as well as food and nutrition security.
I am confident that what I will see here today are solutions that can contribute to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and help contribute to the goal of eradicating extreme poverty set by the Chinese Government by 2020.
I wish you the best luck for the presentations! Thank you!