Chinese premier presented with top UN award
Beijing: Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao was on Wednesday presented with a top UN award in recognition to his contribution to promote food security and poverty alleviation in the world`s most populous nation.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation`s `Agricola Medal` was presented to the 69-year-old leader by Jose Graziano da Silva, the director of the UN agency, at a ceremony here.
The medal is presented to "pay tribute to your life-long dedication to promoting food security and poverty reduction in the People`s Republic of China, and in the world," the FAO said in a statement.
Speaking on the occasion, Wen said China will seek the steady growth of agricultural products and enable Chinese farmers to share the achievements of the country`s economic development and social progress.
"This is more than a personal honour to me. It represents the international community`s full recognition of and high acclaim for what China has achieved in agriculture and rural development," Wen said.
Wen will be stepping down this year after a decade long stint as Premier as the ruling Chinese Communist Party is set for a once in a decade leadership change.
China`s grain output has been increasing for nine consecutive years, with this year`s output about 150 million tonnes more than that of 2003, Wen said.
"This has provided a guarantee for China`s economic and social development and the improvement of people`s life. It has also contributed to the global food security," he said.
Wen attributed the achievements of China`s agricultural and rural development to the rural reform, the top priority given to agriculture and the principle of "industry supporting agriculture and cities supporting rural areas."
The achievements would also be impossible without the government`s commitment to safeguard farmers` rights, respect farmers` aspiration for better life, bring into play farmers` initiatives to boost production and build new rural areas, Wen said.
Wen said China would like to work with the international community to promote the world agricultural development, food security and improve farmers` livelihood.
China, with 1.3 billion people, feeds 21 per cent of the world`s population on nine per cent of the world`s arable land and six per cent of the world`s fresh water, Graziano said, adding the output of many of China`s agricultural products ranked first in the world.
Graziano appreciated the Chinese government`s principle of giving top priority to agriculture, farmers and rural areas, saying he believed China, with reform and innovation, will embrace a better future, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
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