Damien O’Connor representing New Zealand at UN Food and Agriculture Conference

Minister of Agriculture, Minister for Food Safety, and Minister of State for Trade and Export Growth, Damien O’Connor departed New Zealand last night to attend international forums, including the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Conference in Rome.

On his way to Rome, Mr O’Connor will stopover in London to discuss climate change and agriculture with UK-based New Zealand industry representatives to get an insight into the opportunities and challenges faced in the UK market from Brexit.

The FAO Conference is a ministerial-level meeting on food and agricultural policy and trade matters, held every two years.

“New Zealand has a strong interest in in these areas. We’re a world-leader in sustainable production and this conference is an ideal opportunity to showcase this and highlight the importance of agricultural trade liberalisation,” Mr O’Connor said.

“Issues like food security and ending hunger are major priorities under the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and cannot be achieved without sound agricultural policies.’’

New Zealand will highlight the challenges facing the South Pacific’s small island states, and the need for strong multilateral action to help them deal with climate change and broader food security and nutrition issues.

New Zealand will also be participating in the election of a new Director-General of the organization.

From Rome, Mr O’Connor will travel to Cairo, Egypt.

“Our relationship with this important region is growing at a great pace and my visit provides an opportunity to continue discussing priority areas for both countries, including trade, food security and agricultural technology,” says Mr O’Connor.

Egypt is an important trading partner as New Zealand’s second largest market in Africa.  Annual two-way trade is worth more than NZ$350 million, mostly in dairy and meat.  This visit is the first trade-focused Ministerial visit since 2006.

While in Egypt, Mr O’Connor will meet with the Minister of Agriculture and Land Reclamation and the Minister of Trade and Industry about broadening our trade relationship and recent agriculture cooperation projects.

On the way home Mr O’Connor will attend the Australia New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation in Sydney.

Minister O’Connor is travelling from 18-29 June.