Barnaby backs farmers at FAO

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Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce last week stressed the need to meet global food demands when addressing the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO).

It was the first time since 2009 that an Australian minister has attended the conference, delivering the response to the Frank McDougall Memorial Lecture, an Australian who was pivotal in creating the FAO.

Addressing the world’s agricultural ministers and senior officials, Joyce emphasized the need for nations to ‘act now’ to meet the growing global food demand.

"Global food consumption is set to rise 11 per cent per person by 2050—the world will consume more in the next 50 years than we have in the whole of human history," Joyce says.

"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," Joyce adds.

Joyce also pushed his case to see financial incentives given to people who remain on the land.

"My message to the FAO centred on four areas to meet this challenge: driving better returns for farmers, infrastructure, innovation and trade.

"There needs to be a monetary incentive for people to go on to and stay on the land," he says. "No one is going to produce what is required unless they get a fair return through the farm gate.

"There is no way to meet growing global food demand if produce cannot make it to local and international markets," Joyce says. "Adaption, change and innovation will drive the future—we must take science out of the lab and put it in the hands of farmers, and look for game changers."

Joyce also stood by Australia’s strong support for multilateral trading, which he believes has the potential to benefit global food security and farmers around the globe.

"Australia is well on our way to what others thought was an impossible target—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.

"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."

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