Firstly, let me thank the Federal Minister of Agriculture, Ilse Aigner, for the invitation and for hosting this meeting.
Increased investment in the food and agriculture sector is a key to meet the objective of feeding 9 billion people in 2050.
We need investments that generate rural development, poverty reduction and long term sustainability in the agricultural sector. Climate change and limited natural resources are great challenges. To improve food security, investments must support the right to food.
I am happy to note what has been achieved at the global level to provide frameworks for responsible investments. I would like to highlight the “Volontary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security”, and the ongoing consultations on “Principles for Responsible Agricultural Investment” within the Committee of World Food Security. These are important steps, and the challenge ahead is to make sure that the guidelines are implemented on the ground.
The food crisis in 2008 demonstrated the importance of spending on agriculture in development aid. Norway has recently developed a new strategy for agriculture in our development cooperation, with emphasis on promoting adaptation to climate change, particularly for small scale farmers, and to support the central role of women in the agricultural sector.
I would also like to highlight the importance of good framework conditions for farmers to make investments, and particularly the role of cooperatives. As members of cooperatives, farmers can negotiate better terms in contracts and improve market opportunities.
In my country, overall investments in environmentally friendly production systems, technology and infrastrucure are also important. Only 3 percent of the total area in Norway is arable land, and to protect and preserve agricultural land is a high priority.
Many crucial points have been raised today. I am convinced that the declaration from this ministerial meeting will send a clear message on the need for responsible investments.