Australia’s key role in addressing global food shortage highlighted by visit of WTO head: Burke

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 11th February 2009

World Trade Organization Director-General Pascal Lamy is coming to Australia for the 2009 ABARE Outlook conference, a decision that highlights the importance of Australia’s role in the future of global food security, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Tony Burke announced yesterday.

Mr Burke said the conference – held March 3-4 – would be a good opportunity to discuss global trade issues. “This visit from the head of the WTO is further recognition of the importance of Australian agriculture in the world economy,” he explained. “It shows how much our farmers have learnt and can share with other countries. They have invaluable expertise in dealing with an extreme climate.”

“Those lessons are more important than ever, as threats to food security, the global recession and climate change could all affect the world’s ability to feed itself into the future,” Mr Burke added. “Mr Lamy’s visit is also timely as efforts continue to conclude the Doha Round of world trade negotiations, with the Rudd Government working hard to help achieve a successful outcome. It is critical that we secure a strong result in the Doha Round to allow food to move freely to where it is most needed.”

“Free trade is also vital as the world deals with the impacts of a global recession.”

The theme of the ABARE conference – A changing climate for agriculture – will look at the future of the agricultural and natural resource sectors as they adapt to climate change and other global challenges.

More than 70 speakers are expected to address issues including the economic outlook for the sectors, farm performance, trade, irrigated agriculture and commodities, climate change, land management, food security and biosecurity.

For more information go to the ABARE website at