Why Australia 'should worry' about global food security
Australia is being urged to strengthen its support for global food security and stability in the Pacific.
Delegates from the United Nations' International Fund for Agricultural Development have met foreign affairs and trade officials in Canberra.
One of the delegation's messages was: Australians should be worried about food security, both in the region and globally.
"The cost of living is a key concern in developed and developing countries, and the cost of food, particularly healthy, nutritious food, is as much a concern here in Australia as it is for the developing world," the agency's Ron Hartman said.
The group is in the region for a conference in Fiji.
"We're here to try and respond to the demand from Pacific islands and other developing member states for more support, not through the handouts-type approach, but support in terms of hand-ups," Mr Hartman said.
"We're motivated by the concern that we've got over-escalating global food insecurity and want to make sure that we're co-ordinating and partnering with Australian stakeholders as much as possible."
The UN estimates 828 million people are going hungry every night around the globe.
Mr Hartman said world peace and food security were interlinked, and Australians should be aware of what's happening in the global food space, as well as in the Pacific.
"There are some food security and nutrition security concerns in the Pacific,'' he said.
"We need to be doing more. There's almost a perfect storm at the moment that is facing the global community.
"Making sure that Australian expertise, knowledge and innovation is able to benefit those countries that are either less fortunate or more impoverished is really important."
A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said Australia is deeply concerned by the high levels of global food insecurity.
"Australia is responding by providing humanitarian assistance, as well as financial and technical assistance to countries in the Indo-Pacific to help build their long-term food resilience," the spokesperson said.
Last week, Assistant Trade Minister Tim Ayres warned against Australia taking a narrow focus when negotiating trade agreements.
He told a major agricultural conference there was a risk that less-developed nations would be ignored if their interests weren't considered.