SEOUL - South Korea has agreed with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to open an office of the U.N. organization in the country in a move expected to help Asia’s fourth-largest economy to play a greater role in global food-related projects, the agriculture ministry said Sunday.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said Minister Lee Gae-ho plans to meet Jose Graziano da Silva, the head of FAO, during his three-day visit to Italy, and sign an agreement to open the South Korean office, which is expected to open its door within the first half of 2019.

Lee departed for Rome on Sunday, and plans return home on Wednesday. The office will center on rolling out joint projects on coping with poverty and food security issues, along with sharing agricultural know-how with developing countries, the ministry said.

South Korea is expected to play more roles in the global food-related issues by sharing through the office, it added.

The ministry and the FAO started discussing opening the office in 2013, and finished the preparations for the contract in December.

During the visit to Italy, Lee also plans to meet the head of World Food Programme, David Beasley, and discuss international food aid projects.