The importance of global food safety was once again highlighted last week when the G20 agriculture ministers met in Turkey to discuss how best to reduce food wastage
and improve production security and overall food sustainability.
The demand on natural resources and the effects of climate change have had far reaching consequences for the global food industry. These results have seen an increase in the need for a sustainable global food model, one that can support the rise in productivity already needed.
The ministers unanimously agreed that applying sustainable and resilient food systems would not only increase the quantity of food produced, but would also promote valuable jobs in rural areas.
G20’s Food Safety and Security Action Plan
The G20’s Food Security and Nutrition Framework was discussed at the Brisbane Summit in 2014 and last week the agricultural ministers in Turkey added their support to it. “We appreciate the work of the Development Working Group (DWG) in coordinating the G20’s food security and development agendas and in particular in fighting poverty which remains the main cause of food insecurity and barrier to the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security,” they said.
The need for a sustainable, resilient food network is also important domestically as the Australian agriculture industry has also been battling the consequences of climate change and an increase in demand. Richard Colbeck, Parliamentary Secretary to the Australian Minister for Agriculture, explained, “we had productive discussions on our policies to ensure food security in our own country and in developing countries.”
“Discussions also focused on sustainable food systems and how to reduce food loss and waste in support of food security. We agreed on establishing a platform to share information in measuring and reducing food loss and waste, building on work underway—this is a great outcome and will help our agricultural industries capitalise on international expertise and commercial opportunities.”
“This includes things like ensuring our farmers can trade, through free trade agreements and technical support to grow and maintain market access, as well as our unique public-private rural research and development system which helps Australian farmers apply new ideas to innovate and maximise productivity in a sustainable way,” Colbeck added. “In turn this helps create jobs and investment, help build stronger rural and regional communities, and contribute to food availability in Australia and our trading partners.”
Global Support for Improved Food Safety
The agricultural ministers have called for the private sector to support governments in their aim to achieve more resilient and sustainable food networks. They also support the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) current bid for a multilateral food trading system. The WHO continues to highlight the importance of food safety at an international level and this year dedicated World Health Day to food safety.
The ministers have also expressed the need for a globally shared network of information and experiences relevant to food security. Working with other interested parties, the ministers have lobbied for the need of an action plan to battle these issues, and requested that it be put to the leaders at the next summit.