IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Director General Graziano da Silva have reaffirmed both their organisations' commitment to the Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture, an almost 50-year-old venture that has made significant strides in the effort to improve agricultural production, protect soil and water resources, and conserve Earth's biodiversity.
Both Directors General Yukiya Amano and Graziano da Silva signed Revised Arrangements regarding the work of the Joint FAO/IAEA Division during the FAO Conference's 38th Session at the FAO's headquarters in Rome, Italy on 19 June 2013.
They emphasised that this gesture is an important outward signal of the intensification and strengthening of the FAO-IAEA partnership in their joint efforts to reduce hunger, improve global food security and achieve sustainable agricultural production.
The Joint FAO/IAEA Division through the Joint FAO/IAEA Programme has made critical contributions to global efforts to combat hunger and attain food security.
Its activities in food and agriculture are broken down into five areas: soil and water management; plant breeding and genetics; animal production and health; insect pest control; and food safety and control.
During his speech to the 38th Session of the FAO Conference, the IAEA Director General said, "I have been impressed by the impact our projects have had in improving lives in many developing countries. In Peru, I met farmers who grow new types of barley at high altitudes, thanks to radiation-induced mutation techniques made available with our assistance."
"In Ethiopia, I learned how the sterile insect technique is being used successfully to eradicate the tsetse fly in the Southern Rift Valley. This has the potential to save the lives of millions of cattle and protect the livelihoods of over 100 000 farming families."
"A major success story was the role played by the Joint Division in the eradication of the deadly cattle disease rinderpest. Our work can also have a favourable impact on the environment, resulting in less use of fertiliser and more efficient use of water."
Calling the Joint Division a "very effective partnership," Mr. Amano said the group's work "brings us a step closer to the sort of world we all want to see."