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Australia on the world stage: farmers take on Rome & Rio

7 June 2012

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) is representing Australian farmers at two global forums taking place this month.

NFF President Jock Laurie is currently appearing for Australia at the World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO) General Assembly in Rome, while next week, NFF CEO Matt Linnegar will travel to Rio for the UN’s Rio+20 where he will act as a negotiator for the WFO.

Mr Linnegar says the Assembly and the Forum both provide critical opportunities for Australian farmers to have their voices heard on the international stage.

“The WFO General Assembly brings together farm leaders from across the world to discuss key issues facing the agricultural sector: everything from trade to food security to climate change,” Mr Linnegar said.

“Also on the agenda for discussion are agricultural education and awareness – issues that are frequently raised as among the key challenges facing Australian farmers, and that the NFF is taking a key role in addressing by encouraging greater collaboration among the sector.

“Interestingly, agricultural industries in many other countries are also facing the same perception challenges that we face here, due in part, to the rise in urbanisation across the world.

“Three years ago, just under half the world’s population lived in urban areas - the UN predicts that by 2050, this will be 70 percent. This is a growing challenge for agriculture; not only for food security, but also for society’s understanding of food and fibre sources, production and sustainability,” Mr Linnegar said.

“Sustainability is also going to be a major focus at Rio+20. This forum brings together world leaders and thousands of other participants, including farm leaders, to discuss ways to help reduce poverty, achieve greater social equity and improve environmental protection.

“The role and contribution of agriculture are fundamentally important parts of these discussions, and it is essential that our farmers are represented in the negotiations. My role at Rio+20 is exactly that: ensuring that Australian agriculture can play its part in the global solution,” Mr Linnegar said.

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