“The world will consume more in the next 50 years than we have in the whole of human history. If we are serious about meeting global food demand — we have to back our farmers.”
This was the stark message Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Barnaby Joyce delivered to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) Ministerial Conference in Rome this week.
Minister Joyce was the first Australian Minister to attend the Conference since 2009.
Minister Joyce’s keynote highlighted the ever-growing task the world’s farmers have in feeding the world.
“Global food consumption is set to rise 11 per cent per person by 2050,” Minister Joyce said.
“Growth in global food demand alone will require a 75 per cent increase in global food production by 2050 compared with 2007 levels.
“Farmers feed and clothe people—there is nothing more honourable and noble."
Minister Joyce said his message to the FAO was clear: to the meet this challenge we (the world) need to drive better returns for farmers, invest in infrastructure and innovation and pursue liberalised trade.
Mr Joyce said there must also be a monetary incentive for people to go on to and stay on the land.
“No one is going to produce what is required unless they get a fair return through the farmgate.
He also reiterated Australia’s support for liberalised trade.
“Australia remains a staunch supporter of the multilateral trading system, a system with great potential to do more for farmers all over the world, and for global food security.
Minister Joyce challenged other countries to commit to boosting their agricultural production.
“Australia is well on our way to doubling the value of agricultural production in our nation. We are about one-third of the way there.
“We have to start dealing with global food demand now.”
Minister Joyce said, globally, farmers need our support.
“Our task is to support our farmers, as they rise to meet that challenge, and continue to improve the lives of billions of people by putting food on their tables, clothes on their backs, and by generating income and employment that invigorates entire communities.
“If we are serious about meeting global food demand—and I believe that there is no other viable alternative before us—we have to back our farmers.”
Minister Joyce arrived back on home soil on Tuesday wrapping up a comprehensive trip to Europe where he championed Australia’s agriculture trade with the United Kingdom, Belgium, Netherlands and Italy.
Specifically, Minister Joyce supported progress towards preferential trade deals with the European Union and the United Kingdom.