​Media Release

Australia puts its case at G20 Meeting on Water and Food Security​

24 January 2017

  • Deputy Prime Minister attends G20 Ag Ministers meeting in Berlin; holds separate meetings with EU Agriculture and Health & Food Safety Commissioners on proposed Australia-EU free trade agreement.
  • Joyce meets with UK Secretary of State for Food and Rural Affairs, Andrea Leadsom, to discuss strengthening agricultural cooperation.
  • Joyce meets with China’s Agriculture Minister to champion greater trade to build on free trade agreement with China.
  • Coalition’s commitment to building dams key to us delivering on United Nations goals on agricultural production and global food security.

Australia has spearheaded discussions on global food and water security in Berlin as a part of the G20 meeting of Agriculture Ministers.

Deputy Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce, also took the opportunity to drive agricultural trade expansion with separate meetings with the EU Agriculture Commissioner, China’s Minister for Agriculture and Britain’s Secretary of State for Food and Rural Affairs.

Mr Joyce championed expanded trade opportunities; Australia’s role in ensuring global food security; and a focus on water management at a series of forums and bilateral meetings associated with the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture, the 9th Berlin Agriculture Ministers’ Conference and the G20 meeting of Agriculture Ministers.

“Australia has a very strong trade agreement in place with China and both parties are keen to see that continue to flourish. Equally, Australia envisages great potential to develop a Free Trade Agreement with the EU and also new cooperation opportunities with the United Kingdom following it’s ‘Brexit’ decision," Mr Joyce said.

“I’ve been encouraged by each of those bilateral meetings; and I’m encouraged by the global appreciation of the role Australia can play on the integrated issues of water accessibility and global food security,” he said.

“The global population is expected to reach 8.5 billion by 2030; and almost 10 billion by 2050. This offers real opportunities for Australia’s agricultural sector as we work in partnership with countries across the world to address the global food and water challenges and demands of population growth,” Mr Joyce said.

“Ensuring we have enough safe, nutritious and affordable food to feed the world will only be possible if we continue to boost the productivity and profitability of the agricultural sector, manage water resources sensibly, and have strong trade relationships locked in place,” he said.

"We will need exceptional policies to meet this challenge.  We will need to incentivise farmers to embrace new and improved technologies with better returns at the farm gate. We will need to embrace genetic modification to achieve sustainability goals and drive freer trade where the world's farmers are recognised as partners instead of competitors,” Mr Joyce told G20 Ministers.

The Deputy Prime Minister said solving global challenges relied on global co-operation.

“G20 Ministers reaffirmed our commitment to the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes the goal of doubling agricultural productivity”, he said.

Mr Joyce said the policies of the Coalition Government to offer significant investment to build water infrastructure were key to delivering on the G20 and United Nations expectations, along with the Coalition Government’s significant investment in research and development funding.

“The government and industry invest around $550 million annually through the rural R&D corporations of which $250 million is government funding to match producer research and development levies,” he said.

"The world is coming to an epiphany where in the moral hierarchy, feeding the world's people is at the top.

“If Labor and the Greens succeed in undermining agriculture, threatening investment  in R&D and stopping dam building, then Labor and the Greens succeed in driving global hunger. It’s as serious as that,” Mr Joyce said.

"If you stand in the way of dams then you stand in the way of water; and if you stand in the way of water, then you stand in the way of food," he said. 

“In addition to the obvious economic benefits to our own country, Australia has a moral global responsibility to play in helping feed the world; and the Coalition Government will be part of delivering on that through expanded agriculture and expanded trade agreements,” he said.​