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Spotlight: China makes active contribution to world poverty reduction
2015-06-11

Hunger and poverty are scars of this increasingly vibrant and well-off world, and their eradication has been the most meaningful task of the whole humanity.

The international community has never stopped in this endeavor. Halving the proportion of undernourished people since 1990 before the 2015 deadline marks one of the most courageous targets of the world.

The ambitious target, dubbed the Millennium Development Goal (MDG), was set by the World Food Summit (WFS) in 1996. It has aroused a lot of questions and doubts since its very birth.

China, the most populous country in the world, has a vast number of people living in sheer poverty, and the efforts to lift its people out of poverty would be a huge contribution to the world's collective endeavor.

HUGE SUCCESS AT HOME

China has put great strength in boosting its agricultural policies and improving infrastructure, technology and equipment in agriculture, to better support farmers and enhance their productivity.

All these efforts have resulted in a significant improvement of food security of the world.

According to the latest FAO (the UN Food and Agriculture Organization)estimates, China was able to reduce the prevalence of undernourishment in its society from 23.9 percent in 1990-92 to 9.3 percent in 2014-16.

In the same period, China cut the absolute number of hungry people from 289 million to 133.8 million.

The achievement has been recognized by the United Nations. China received a diploma at the FAO headquarters in Rome on Sunday for reaching the MDG, or halving the absolute number of hungry people by 2015.

Ensuring food security has always been a priority of the Chinese government, said Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang after receiving the diploma on behalf of his country.

CONTRIBUTION BEYOND BORDER

Hunger relief and poverty reduction, two major challenges to the whole world, are shared responsibilities of the international community, said Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in a speech at the FAO headquarters on the eve of World Food Day last October.

More than 800 million people in the world are still faced with the lack of food or malnutrition, Li warned, urging the international community to strengthen agricultural cooperation and pay great attention to developing countries, particularly the least-developed ones.

Li announced in the event a decision to donate 50 million U.S. dollars in the next five years to the UN food and agriculture group in support of the developing countries in building sustainable food systems and inclusive agricultural value chains.

On the sideline of the FAO award meeting on Sunday, China and the FAO formally inked the 50-million-U.S.-dollar agreement.

China's new contribution to the FAO-China South-South Cooperation Trust Fund will support the exchange of Chinese agricultural experts with countries in low-income food-deficit areas of Central Asia, the Pacific Islands, Africa and Latin America, over a period of five years.

"China has made strides in decreasing hunger and has used its own experience to support other countries in doing the same," FAO Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva said during the signing ceremony.

"It has become clear that while we have the power to end hunger in our lifetime, we will only succeed if we work together -- Southern countries empowering one another by exchanging knowledge and tools is a key part of this," he added.

STRENGTHS TO DRAW FROM

As the biggest developing country in the world, China will always be an active force in maintaining food security, and is ready to work with other countries to create a hunger-free and poverty-free world with sustainable development, said China's Premier Li.

China has succeeded in helping more than 550 million nationals shake off the bonds of extreme poverty in four decades since 1981, said Helen Clark, administrator of the UN Development Program in 2011.

This marked "the fastest development pace in human history," she said.

"The whole world has always been interested in the experience and inspiration behind China's poverty alleviation," she added.

China's reform began with a contract system for family farming in rural areas three decades ago, which has managed to feed most of the Chinese people and helped several hundred millions of them out of poverty, said Premier Li.

China's experience is especially relevant as "the largest segment of the world's poor are women, children and men who live in rural environments," according to a report carried on the UN website.

"Empowering rural people is an essential first step to eradicating poverty," it said.

This is exactly what the Chinese government has been doing. The Chinese government always attaches great importance to agriculture and the sustainable development of agriculture, Li said.

China has used its own farm land and water resources, which are below the world's average level in quantity, to sustain 20 percent of the global population, said the Chinese premier.

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