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The People’s Republic of China - speech by Mr Han Changfu The Executive Vice Minister of Agriculture of The People’s Republic of China

Mr President,
Mr Chairman,
Delegates,

On the occasion of the 25th Anniversary of the establishment of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), I am very pleased to head the Chinese Government Delegation to attend the Twenty-sixth Session of IFAD Governing Council. On behalf of the Chinese Government and the Chinese Delegation, I would like to extend my warm congratulations to the Anniversary and express my heartfelt thanks to IFAD for its supports to the poverty alleviation in China for years.

Over the past2 25 years, IFAD has made positive contributions to poverty eradication and ensuring food security, and the Member States have devoted their efforts in promoting the global undertakings against poverty. The Chinese government appreciates such efforts. Now the world economy is under fast development; however, about 800 million out of the global population are still living in poverty and a very arduous task of anti-poverty is facing us. Therefore, great efforts are necessary to continue from the international community, especially from the developed countries, who have the obligation as well as the capacity to play a still active role to this end. As an international financial agency for poverty eradication, IFAD will continue its proper role in the anti-poverty task. We have noticed the active attitude of all Member States towards the Sixth Replenishment of IFAD' resources, which is quite favourable for IFAD to carry out its function. Compared with its previous contribution, the Chinese Government has made a bigger one to the Sixth Replenishment, in spite of limited financial resources, great pressure from domestic poverty reduction and heavy demands for loans for such purpose. It shows that the Chinese Government has always taken seriously the undertakings of IFAD and been willing to make its due contribution to the world poverty eradication.

The past 25 years witnesses the reform and opening up as well as the faster development in China. The Chinese Government has always given top priority to agriculture in the national economic development plans and recognized rural area as the major arena for poverty alleviation through development. With the unswerving efforts to promote the rural reform and to expand agricultural opening up, we have achieved greatly in agriculture and rural development, which has been acknowledged universally. With less than 10% of the world total cultivated land, we have successfully provided sufficient food and clothing for one quarter of the world population. The rural poor population has decreased to less than 3% of the national total, and farmers have enjoyed a better-off life in general. The sustained and healthy development in China's agriculture has not only supported the reform, development and stability in the country but also made remarkable contributions to the world agricultural development and the human progress at large.

Not before long, the Chinese Government has set up goals of building a well-off society in an all-round way in the first 20 years of the new century. For this, we shall continue to consolidate and strengthen agriculture; ensure food security; speed up the strategic restructuring of agriculture and rural economy; raise the integrated performance in agriculture; increase farmer's income; and push forward the transformation of traditional agriculture into modern one with the aim of developing rural economy in an all-round way.

China is a big developing country and poverty will exist there for a certain period of time. Therefore, poverty alleviation through development will be an important job for the Chinese Government. Having reviewed the achievements and lessons made in the practice against poverty, the Chinese Government has drawn up and begun the implementation of China Rural Poverty Reduction and Development Program 2001 – 2010. The Government sticks to the guideline of reducing poverty through development, and focuses its efforts on crop and animal production. At the same time, construction of infrastructure is and will be intensified in the poor areas and non-governmental programmes against poverty will be carried out on a wide-ranging basis. The Chinese Government also helps the poor to develop production and increases their income so that they can extricate themselves from poverty as soon as possible and for good.

While struggling against poverty, China relies mainly on itself, but highly values the co-operation and exchange with the international community as well. For many years, China has successfully co-operated with IFAD, whose projects in China have all been implemented smoothly, benefiting millions of poor people in China. The Chinese Government and the people attach importance to and cherish the good co-operation with IFAD, all its Member States and other international agencies or organizations. We are willing to continue our due contribution in the common effort to eliminate world poverty and to accelerate world agriculture development.

Finally, I wish the 26th Session of the Governing Council a complete success.