By Adam Coleman
A task force of prominent Australians appointed by the non-government organisation, The Crawford Fund, has produced a new report that focuses on global food security and provides a framework to guide Australian policy.
The two themes of the report: A Food Secure World: How Australia Can Help are to assist developing countries in formulating appropriate policies themselves, and to help them develop and introduce new or adapted technologies into their farming systems.
In an address to the National Press Club, the former head of the United Nation’s World Food Programme and of Australia’s aid program, Mr James Ingram told journalists Australia can help avert the world food crisis by increasing support for agricultural research, development and extension in developing countries and by growing and exporting more food and knowledge about food production.
“We recommend that the Australian government increase the proportion of aid directed at rural development and within that fraction of the overall aid budget, increase the share assigned to agricultural research and extension, which has proved to have quite outstanding returns on investment,” he said.
He says this needs to be done in tandem with an effort to build a network of food security and climate change policy makers in the developing world.
“I remain convinced that through promotion of good policy and modern science we, as Australians, have a rare means of assistance, which, when appropriately used, can bring demonstrable and lasting benefits for both developing countries and Australia,” he said.
“While global food security solutions require a whole of government response, there is a special role for our development assistance efforts, which is the focus of our report.”
A Food Secure World: How Australia Can Help and information on the terms of reference and membership of the Task Force are available at www.crawfordfund.org.
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