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19.03.2004 General News

FAO Director-General commends African leaders

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Accra, March 19, GNA - Dr Jacques Diouf, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), on Friday commended African leaders for making agriculture a priority, saying that would help to alleviate the suffering of the 207 million people who lacked access to food on the Continent.

He said: "I am pleased with the importance they attach to agriculture; they are responding to the needs of their hungry people." Dr Diouf said this when he met with the heads of UN Agencies and staff of the FAO in Accra. He is in the country to attend the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Summit.

He said the FAO had a responsibility to support member countries in the preparation of five-year national agricultural plans towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal.

Dr Diouf said unless the organization was able to change the condition of people their services would be meaningless to the people they were supposed to help.

"Unless we are able to help farmers to adopt the right seed, right technology and get them to do the right thing, what we do is of little help to the people we are supposed to help" he stressed. Dr Diouf urged the staff of FAO to take up the challenge of poverty alleviation through agriculture.

Later in the day, Dr Diouf paid a courtesy call on Ghana's Foreign Minister, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

Nana Akufo-Addo said he was happy about the work Mr Diouf was doing in Africa and pledged Ghana's support for him.