Tuesday, December 15, 2009

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Ads by Get Media! Australia needs food policy to help ease global crisis A national and state food policy is needed to aggressively invest in expanding food production, if Australia is to play its part in easing the current global food crisis, according to the Queensland Farmers’ Federation.

QFF Chief Executive Officer John Cherry said the gathering of world leaders in New York to discuss the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals, repeated referred need for concerted action by industrialised and developing countries to increase food production.

“Australia exports more than 70 per cent of our agricultural produce, feeding the equivalent of 50 million people in addition to our own population,” Mr Cherry said.

“We can play a substantial role in expanding food production and exports, as well as reaching improvements in agricultural productivity in sub-tropical wet and dry climates.

“As President Mutharika of Malawi told the United Nations, industrialised countries need to increase allocation of resources to agriculture and food production, and persuade the private sector in those countries to increase investment in food

production and agricultural science and technology.

“Instead in Australia, we have been making it harder for farmers to farm, tightening regulations and restrictions, reducing public investment in research and extension, and tightening our labour market that makes it difficult for farmers to expand.

“Farmers work with the world’s most variable climate and already face huge challenges and costs adapting to climate change now and into the future.

“A food policy would represent a high level national objective that Australia will seek to increase food production, and provide a context against which other policies which could impair that objective could be tested.

Mr Cherry went on to say that a food policy would question the imposition of new costs through the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme well in excess of most other industries.

“It would bring agriculture more firmly into the equation in debates about water policy, planning policy and regulation more generally,” he said.

“Federal and States Governments need to consider carefully the UN Secretary General’s call for a reverse of “the negative trend of chronic under-investment into the agricultural sector” and the liberalisation of trade rules.

“Recent UN data indicates that at least 75 million additional people slid into hunger and poverty due to recent food price rises, joining over 800 million others.

“A food policy would help ensure that Australia plays its part in reversing that trend,” Mr Cherry said.

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