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Minister Smith says Viable Returns to Farmers Key to Future World Food Production

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD, today called for Governments worldwide to recognise the positive role that agriculture can play in both food security and climate change mitigation, while at the same time ensuring that appropriate policies are in place to ensure a viable return for farmers.

The Minister, who chaired one of this morning's ministerial working groups, was reflecting outcomes from the second day of discussions at the OECD in Paris with fellow Ministers responsible for agriculture and food from up to forty countries worldwide.

Minister Smith said that the two day meeting "not only highlighted challenges facing the sector but also the significant opportunities that exist globally to deal with the twin challenges of food security and climate change".  He acknowledged that "it was a valuable opportunity to meet with counterparts from a wide range of countries varying in size, culture and geography which allowed us to discuss policy options for agriculture and food over the next ten years".

In terms of policy responses Minister Smith highlighted the importance of appropriate risk management measures. He also highlighted the importance of farm income stability and the need to deal with price volatility.

"Viable returns to farmers is the key to future of world food production" he said.

He called for further research by the OECD into price transparency to ensure an equitable share along the food supply chain.  He was particularly happy that his views in this regard were recognised as key areas that the OECD would focus on in its future work.

The Minister thanked the OECD for convening the meeting at this high level and at such an important time for agriculture and the world at large. He urged the OECD "to continue with their important work" and stressed that "the OECD has a key role in developing a better understanding of the nature and scope of the challenges facing agriculture and in helping to develop appropriate policy responses to these challenges".

Notes for the Editor:

The Committee for Agriculture met at Ministerial level in 1992 and 1998. The theme of the 1998 meeting was the Agriculture in a Changing World: Which Policies for Tomorrow? In the 1998 Ministerial Communiqué the ministers expressed their shared goals and adopted a set of principles that have been used since as a reference and as the criteria for policy evaluation.

Date Released: 26 February 2010