I would like to welcome you, the John Dillon Fellows, to Australia and to Parliament House.
For Australia, it’s a privilege to play a small part in shaping your careers.
The Australian Government is committed to development assistance in our region and beyond.
Australian spends some $4.3 billion annually on aid and the Government has committed to doubling this.
Australia’s development programme spans more than 40 countries and it focuses on four broad themes:
- generating shared and sustainable economic growth in our region;
- fostering functioning nation states built on policies and institutions that are essential for growth and development;
- investing in people to provide all with the opportunity to participate in their domestic economy; and
- regional stability and cooperation to allow all countries to benefit from the opportunities offered by economic integration.
Food security is an important pillar of our development programme.
The Government’s Food Security through Rural Development Initiative, announced in 2009, is investing $464 million over four years, to support global food production, and to strengthen the ability of countries in the Asia-Pacific region and Africa to address food security.
The facts speak for themselves.
- Half of the world’s poor are smallholder farmers;
- 10 per cent of the world’s poor rely on fisheries, forest and pasture resources; and
- 20 per cent live in rural areas but without access to land.
It is clear that agricultural productivity must keep pace with population growth if we are going to make progress on food security.
As John Dillon once said:
"Agricultural research is vital in the development process. It is the source of new technology, and production technology is the source of economic growth. As projects have produced new technologies it has become important to ensure clear strategies are available to facilitate the efficient development, transfer and application to intended users."
Successive Australian Government’s have recognised the value of agricultural research within aid delivery.
Research and development in agriculture has helped lift gross world food production by 138 per cent during the past half century.
Each person alive today has, in theory, 29 per cent more food than in 1960.
Yet more than a billion people go hungry each day.
It’s clear the burden of lifting productivity falls on the shoulders of researchers, such as yourselves.
The Australian Government thanks you for your passion, dedication and leadership in the field agricultural research.
We acknowledge your key role in promoting and strengthen the partnerships that ACIAR fosters, between Australian researchers and you and your colleagues in research institutions, and in the private sector and beyond.
I wish you the best in your remaining time in Australia.
I also I hope that you will stay in touch with the people you have met and nurture the contacts you've made so that the collaboration and exchange that has started here in Australia will continue and grow.
- Parliamentary Secretary's Office: (02) 6277 4330
- Departmental Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555