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New Zealand, Australia Join Forces at World Meeting

17 May 2012, at 7:06am

AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND - Federated Farmers of New Zealand and the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) have announced that they will both apply for membership of international agricultural advocacy body, the World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO).

The WFO will bring together national farming bodies from across the globe to create policy and advocate on behalf of the world’s farmers - providing benefits to both Australian and New Zealand farmers, says NFF President Jock Laurie and Federated Farmers President Bruce Wills.

“Since the demise of the International Federation of Agricultural Producers two years ago, farm representation on an international scale has been at a crossroads,” Mr Wills said.

“This has led to ineffective representation for our farmers at key international forums, like the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN and the World Organisation for Animal Health.

“The NFF and Federated Farmers both have a long history of support for agricultural representation on the international level, and our organisations believe it’s critical that any new body, like the WFO, provides strong engagement on common issues like climate change, food security, trade, productivity growth, biotechnology and animal welfare,” Mr Wills said.

Mr Laurie said a particular focus for both Australia and New Zealand will be helping to shape WFO policy around the sensitive issue of trade.

“Farmers in both Australia and New Zealand are heavily dependent on new market access opportunities and on removing distorting trade barriers, so this will be one of our key focuses at the WFO,” Mr Laurie said.

“We’ll also be working to ensure that the WFO develops policies that will increase the economic viability of our rural communities, contribute to food security and sustainable rural development, and assist in supporting farmers in the global marketplace.

“The WFO’s mandate is to advocate on behalf of the world’s farmers for the improved livelihoods of producers, their families and rural communities – so it is essential that Australian, New Zealand and indeed all Oceania farmers are represented. This is a significant opportunity for us to represent farmers in our region on the world stage and to influence the policies of an organisation that will, in turn, influence leading global bodies,” Mr Laurie said.