Australian government issues framework for overseas agricultural aid

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 9th February 2012

Australian Food News recently reported criticisms of Australian government technical aid to the Indonesian cattle industry. The criticism was that the Australian government was spending Australian taxpayer funds helping potential competitors to the detriment of Australian food suppliers.

The Australian government today released a new Independent Review of Aid Effectiveness framework to guide future aid budget allocations for agricultural research.

Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd said that with approximately 1 billion malnourished people in the world, and the global population estimated to grow by a further 2 billion by 2050, it is critical Australia maximises its investment in agricultural science, technology and training.

Mr Rudd said, “I welcome the release of the independent report A Strategic Framework for International Agricultural Research within Australia’s Aid Program by Australia’s Chief Scientist, Professor Ian Chubb and a panel of international experts, which will help guide the future of Australia’s contribution to global food security.”

The Framework follows the Government’s Independent Review of Aid Effectiveness and has suggested ways to increase the effectiveness of Australia’s overseas development assistance via agricultural research.

Mr Rudd added, “Research in agriculture is an important, even core, element in the alleviation of poverty. It can lead to increases in incomes for both rural and growing urban populations, better health through better nutrition and improved local economies and services”.

The report featured Australian support in East Timor that has helped 12,000 farmers increase their yields of rice, maize, sweet potato, cassava and peanut crops by up to 80 per cent.

The new Framework says Australia is deriving benefits by its leading role in international agricultural research, and the current program was achieving impressive results. However, the report acknowledged greater effort would need to be made to improve co-ordination and colloboration between the public and private sectors in the financing, management and conduct of the agricultural research.