José Graziano da Silva has worked on food security, rural development, and agriculture issues for over 30 years, most notably as the architect of Brazil’s Zero Hunger (Fome Zero) programme and now as the Director-General of FAO.
Graziano da Silva led the team that designed the Zero Hunger programme, and, in 2003, was charged by then-President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to implement the programme as Special Minister of Food Security and the Fight against Hunger.
He headed the FAO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean from 2006 to 2011. Elected Director-General of FAO, he took up office on 1 January 2012. After his first term from 1 January 2012 to 31 July 2015, Graziano da Silva was re-elected for a second 4 year-term (1 August 2015 to 31 July 2019) with the votes of 177 countries during FAO's 39th Conference.
At the helm of FAO, Graziano da Silva has sharpened the Organization’s strategic focus; and is strengthening its field presence. He is also working to instil a best value-for-money culture. At the international level, he is working to build consensus on food security-related issues.
He has also encouraged closer cooperation with development partners, supports South-South cooperation, and has increased collaboration with civil society and private sector entities, including farmer organizations and cooperatives for smallholder producers.
Graziano da Silva holds a Bachelor's Degree in Agronomy and a Master's Degree in Rural Economics and Sociology from the University of São Paulo (USP), and a Ph.D. in Economic Sciences from the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP). He also has post-Doctorate Degrees in Latin American Studies (University College of London) and Environmental Studies (University of California, Santa Cruz).
A Brazilian and Italian by nationality, he is married to Paola Ligasacchi and has two children and four grandchildren.