Jose Graziano da Silva, the former Brazilian Food Security Minister, will be the eighth Director General (DG) of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the United Nations said in a statement.
Graziano da Silva is the first person from Latin America to head the United Nation's (UN) global body on agriculture.
"Jose Graziano da Silva, who has served as a senior regional official for FAO since 2006, will take up the post of DG on January 1 next year after beating five other candidates during voting today at the agency's (FAO's) headquarters in Rome," the UN statement said.
Da Silva received 92 votes from 180 votes cast by FAO member states during the second round of balloting, narrowly defeating Miguel Angel Moratinos Cuyaube, a former foreign minister of Spain, it said.
The other candidates -- Franz Fischler (Austria), Indroyono Soesilo (Indonesia), Mohammad Saeid Noori Naeini (Iran) and Abdul Latif Rashid (Iraq) -- withdrew from the contest after receiving fewer votes during the first round of balloting, it added.
Graziano da Silva has pledged to work towards eradicating hunger, promoting a shift to sustainable food production and ensuring greater fairness in global food management, among other issues.
"My track record shows that I can bring to the organisation the leadership that it needs. I have spent my whole working life dealing with issues related to agriculture, food security and sustainable development that are central to FAO's mandate," he said.
Graziano da Silva's term will expire on 31st July 2015, but he will be eligible to run for a second, four-year term.He succeeds Jacques Diouf, who has served as FAO Director-General since 1994.