Gippsland is ideally positioned to help meet growing global demand for food, according to The Nationals Member for Gippsland Darren Chester.
The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization Ministerial Conference has forecast global food production would need to increase by 75 per cent by 2050, compared with 2007 levels.
Mr Chester, who is also the Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, said improving transport links was critical for the local farming sector to exploit its potential as a hub for fresh produce
“The Coalition Government has had great success in securing free trade agreements to provide access to markets throughout the world for our outstanding products,” Mr Chester said.
“One of the big challenges is ensuring our road and rail links are safe and efficient to allow our products to get to market as quickly as possible and ensure we remain internationally competitive.
“The $260 duplication of the Princes Highway between Traralgon and Sale and the $530 million upgrade of the Gippsland railway line, including the replacement of the Avon River bridge at Stratford, are both critical projects for the future prosperity of local farmers and processors.
“Australian produce, including that from Gippsland, has an established reputation as clean and green. As the need for food increases around the world so, too, will customer demand for our quality products.”
Mr Chester’s comments follow Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Barnaby Joyce’s address at the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization Ministerial Conference in Rome.
Mr Joyce said global food consumption would rise 11 per cent per person by 2050.
“The world will consume more in the next 50 years than we have in the whole of human history,” Mr Joyce said. “Growth in global food demand alone will require a 75 per cent increase in global food production by 2050 compared with 2007 levels.”
“We have to start dealing with global food demand now. Our task is to support our farmers, as they rise to meet that challenge, and continue to improve the lives of billions of people by putting food on their tables, clothes on their backs, and by generating income and employment that invigorates entire communities.
“Adaption, change and innovation will drive the future—we must take science out of the lab and put it in the hands of farmers, and look for game changers.”