Food security high on Australia’s G8 agenda: Burke

Posted by Isobel Drake on 21st April 2009

Food security and the role of agriculture in the recovery from the global recession was high on Australia’s agenda for the G8+ Agriculture Ministers’ Meeting, the Federal Government has advised.
The G8 – Canada, the US, France, Germany, the UK, Italy, Japan and Russia – extended invitations to Australia, the African Union, Argentina and Egypt, as well as the G5 nations of Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa for talks in Treviso, Italy.

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Tony Burke attended the meeting on behalf of Australia.

“Australia has a major role to play in meeting the global food shortage and boosting global food security, which is shown by our involvement in this meeting,” Mr Burke said. “We believe investment in agricultural research will be essential, along with increasing the capacity of other nations to produce their own food.”

“This meeting is a chance to build on the commitment of G20 leaders in London to resist protectionism, strengthen world trade and achieve a breakthrough in the Doha Round of negotiations,” he added. “Concluding Doha is the best insurance against protectionism and will give the global economy a major confidence boost.”

The G8 focussed their attentions on speculators – who helped drive up the price of food early last year – calling for a study into setting up a global system to stockpile essential foodstuffs.

The head of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, Jacques Diouf, was pleased with the meeting was taking place as it would “draw international attention to the fact that we have not resolved the food crisis.”

“In order to feed the nearly one billion hungry people and provide for the extra three billion people coming into the world by the year 2050, the world needs political leadership and well invested resources,” Mr Diouf advised. “World leaders looking for ways to save the global economy from disaster and to create jobs and income for millions of people in rural areas would be well advised to invest heavily in agriculture.”

Following the Agriculture Ministers’ Meeting, Minister Burke will attend the G8+ Environment Ministers’ Meeting later this week, to discuss climate change and biodiversity issues.