Chinese agriculture minister to head UN food agency

Qu Dongyu says that he will prioritize improving farming in tropical and drought-stricken countries.

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The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has elected Qu Dongyu — China’s vice-minister of agriculture and rural affairs — as its next director-general.

Qu will be the first head of the agency from China, and will succeed Brazil’s José Graziano da Silva. His four-year term will start on 1 August.

The FAO wields considerable influence on almost every aspect of food and agriculture, including global and local policies, and helps to shape agendas for agricultural research. With around 11,500 employees, it is the UN’s largest technical agency, and has a US$2.6-billion budget for 2018–19.

Qu has said that his priorities will include improving agriculture in tropical countries — where poverty and hunger are rampant — and helping arid countries to address agricultural challenges brought by water shortages.

By: Declan Butler/Nature News

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