​Media Release

The fundamental importance of agriculture—for Australia and for the world

16 October 2015

World Food Day is an opportunity for everyone to reflect on how agriculture remains of fundamental importance for the wellbeing of the world, including in Australia. 

Australians should never lose sight of the fact that agriculture remains a key contributor to improving the living standards of people at home and across the globe, according to the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce.

“This year’s theme is ‘The Zero Hunger Challenge – United for a sustainable world’ and it also marks the 70th anniversary of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, of which Australia is a founding member,” Minister Joyce said.

“The FAO is the lead United Nations body responsible for improving agriculture, fisheries, forestry and rural development in developing countries. It also plays an essential role in setting trade-facilitating international standards, policy advocacy, scientific and technical engagement, multilateral governance, and monitoring and evaluation. A key focus for the FAO is promoting agriculture for improving nutrition and reducing hunger and poverty in developing countries.” 

Minister Joyce emphasised that Australia continues to provide substantial agricultural development assistance to many countries, especially in the Indo-Pacific region, as one of the most effective ways to reduce poverty, lift incomes and improve food security in those countries.    

“The FAO estimates that a 60 per cent increase in food production will be needed to feed the projected global population of over 9.7 billion by 2050,” Minister Joyce said.

“That’s the challenge—and in a natural resource-constrained environment the key is productive, profitable and sustainable agriculture through continuous innovation. Farmers in developing and developed countries alike face this challenge to feed ever greater numbers of us.

“This is why the Coalition Government continues to work to strengthen the productivity, profitability and sustainability of Australia’s agriculture, food, fisheries and forestry industries, and to support this goal with a strong ongoing R&D system.

“This is what the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper is all about, articulating clear policies and delivering practical actions, backed up with genuine investment in the sector.

“Just three months in, we are already delivering real benefits for farmers and our nation, including fairer tax arrangements, drought support, emergency pest and disease eradication and new agricultural counsellors for key international markets.

“Australia advocates internationally, and acts domestically, to reduce trade barriers and promote open markets not just because we export, but because global competition makes our businesses more productive, innovative and resilient, and enables food to flow more effectively to all markets. 

“Equally importantly, open markets also provide opportunities for farmers in developing countries like Indonesia to sell their products on a more level playing field and improve their farmgate returns. 

“Negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership on top of historic trade agreements with China, Japan and Korea shows our practical commitment to these ideals.

“On this, World Food Day, it is a time to remember the continuing fundamental importance of agriculture not only for our country, but that it remains critical to the wellbeing of the whole world.”