Today, on World Food Day during the International Year of Family Farming, we recognise the valuable contribution our farming families make to feeding and clothing both Australia and the world. Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, said this year’s theme—Family Farming: feeding the world, caring for the earth—was the perfect opportunity to thank farmers across Australia.
“Family farms are the cornerstone of Australian agriculture. They’re the reason we’ve got food on our tables and clothes on our backs,” Minister Joyce said.
“Few people would realise that in the next 50 years, the world will consume more food than in all of human history to date, according to the CSIRO, serving to highlight the importance of farming and food production both to Australia and the world in the years ahead.
“There are more than 500 million family farms worldwide, and they’re responsible for at least 56 per cent of global agricultural production.
“Farming families also understand their land, helping them remain productive and efficient through generations of know-how. And family farmers have the greatest possible incentive to manage their land well – the opportunity to pass it on to the next generation of farmers in the same or better condition than in which they received it.
“In Australia, farmers are custodians of 53% of our total land mass and manage pests and weeds, often at their own cost, benefitting future generations of all Australians.”
Minister Joyce also stressed the significant effort our farming families make to keeping quality, safe and nutritious food on tables overseas.
“Although we can’t meet everyone’s needs, Australia is in a strong position to contribute to global food security as a food producing nation, both locally and globally, exporting more than half the food produced,” Minister Joyce said.
“We export far more fresh food than we import—in 2012-13 our food exports hit $31.8 billion—and our agricultural trade surplus is the fifth largest in the world.
“Our farmers and fishers produce enough food to help feed about 40 million people living beyond our borders, as well as our own population—and over 90% of the fresh fruit and vegetables consumed in Australia are produced here.
“Today is another great opportunity to shine a light on those families who work tirelessly to contribute to our economy and help keep quality and safe food on the table, both here and overseas, each and every day.
“The Coalition Government remains as committed as ever to Australia’s farming families and is delivering on policies that ensure we continue to have a strong, productive and profitable farm sector – feeding and clothing our nation and beyond – for many more years to come,” Minister Joyce said.
For more information on World Food Day visit www.fao.org/world-food-day/en/