Meeting of G20 agriculture ministers

Agriculture as basis for global peace

The G20 agriculture ministers have agreed on an action plan on the sustainable use of water resources. Their meeting on Sunday in Berlin marked the start of Germany’s G20 Presidency. Federal Minister of Agriculture Christian Schmidt stressed how important agriculture is for peace.

Federal Minister of Agriculture Christian Schmidt opens the meeting of G20 agriculture ministers. Federal Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt underscored the responsibility of agriculture for using water responsibly Photo: BMEL/Thomas Imo/photothek.net

Federal Minister of Agriculture Christian Schmidt saw the meeting of G20 agriculture ministers in Berlin as "a good and important signal". It was the first minister-level meeting within the scope of Germany’s G20 Presidency.

Agriculture – the foundation for peace

Christian Schmidt underlined the fundamental importance of agriculture in mastering the global challenges of the future – from feeding the world’s growing population, to protecting the global climate and addressing the causes of migration and displacement. Agriculture offers economic and social prospects in country, and lays foundations for peace and stability. "That makes agriculture part of global security policy," he said.

The G20 states together represent 90 per cent of the world’s economic power. They are home to two thirds of the world’s population, and to 60 per cent of farmland around the globe. Together they produce 80 per cent of the staple foods traded worldwide.

Action plan adopted

In Berlin the G20 agriculture ministers agreed on an action plan on the sustainable use of water. Since agriculture is the single largest user of water, and in future will continue to depend on the availability of sufficient clean water, it has a responsibility to use water economically and environmentally soundly. "We have underlined that with our joint declaration today," said Federal Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt.

With a view to the world’s growing population, resources must be used more productively, more sustainably and more responsibly, the minister continued. The action plan lays out commitments that affect the realms of politics, technology, research, knowledge sharing and sharing experience and lessons learned.

Digitalisation offers a huge potential

Digitalisation offers major opportunities for using water sustainably. It makes possible productivity gains while making efficient and environmentally sound use of resources. Digitalisation also offers a huge potential "for agriculture and worldwide food security" stressed Christian Schmidt.

The agriculture ministers agreed to harness the full potential offered by digitalisation. Rural areas must be provided with better digital services, and the needs of agriculture taken into account in this area.

Minimising the use of antibiotics

The G20 ministers also agreed to produce a roadmap for ending the use of antibiotics in agriculture to promote growth. This would be an important international step toward reducing antimicrobial resistance, on the part of both livestock and human beings. It must be our common goal to "minimise the need for antibiotics in agriculture by ensuring suitable livestock and arable farming procedures," said Federal Minister of Agriculture, Christian Schmidt.

Monday, 23 January 2017