How to feed our cities -Agriculture and rural areas in the age of urbanisation

Published under: Regjeringen Solberg

Publisher Landbruks- og matdepartementet

8th Berlin Agriculture Ministers’ Summit

Saturday, 16 January 2016, 14:00 – 18:00, Federal Foreign Office. 

Dear colleagues,

I would like to thank the German minister for convening this 8th Agriculture Minister`s Summit. I am particularly happy for this opportunity to discuss global challenges for food and agriculture with colleagues from all around the world, as I was appointed Minister of Agriculture and Food only in late December.

The agricultural sector face the challenge of ensuring safe and healthy food for a growing population, in particular a growing urban population.

As I see it, this trend only underlines the importance of ensuring increased food production.  We must produce more food while making sustainably use of natural resources.

As minister of Agriculture and Food, I am determined to provide the incentives for a profitable and vital agricultural sector. I am particularly concerned that young people must find the agricultural sector to be an attractive career path.

Being self- employed, farmers have unique opportunities. However, in order for young people to be willing to invest, they must also be convinced that there are good prospects for value creation in the sector. Hence, framework conditions that stimulate entrepreneurship in the sector is of fundamental importance.

Secondly, I would like to underline that the future of food production will depend on our ability to ensure a healthy food sector.   

Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) in Humans, Animals, Food, Agriculture and the Environment is an issue of growing concern. There are severe negative consequences related to human health, food safety, animal health and production losses.

I am proud to say that in Norway, the use of antibiotics to animals and related problems with Antimicrobial Resistance is the lowest in Europe. Still new resistance mechanisms are emerging also in our country and are of great concern. 

I am sure we all share the same view on the urgent need to secure both the access to, and responsible use of antibiotics.

Combatting AMR requires a "One Health" approach combining efforts of all relevant sectors, especially in the fields of health, agriculture and aquaculture.    

I would like to use this opportunity to highlight the ongoing legislative work in the EU on veterinary medicinal products and medicated feed. This framework contains important measures.

In particular, I would like to underline that the prescription and use of antibiotics must be restricted to professional therapeutic purposes. Hence, there should not be an economic interest associated with prescribing antibiotics. This is an important principle that needs to be addressed.  

Finally, let me highlight some important steps taken recently on the global arena -

The climate agreement in Paris recognized the vulnerability of the agricultural sector to climate change, and the need to put particular attention to food security in climate-related policymaking.  

I was happy to receive the news that WTO members came to an agreement in Nairobi. It is vital that the WTO remains its importance as an arena for multilateral negotiations. The phasing out of export subsidies and the additional disciplines on other export competition measures will have a positive impact on the competition ability of developing countries

Furthermore, the new Sustainable Development agenda has set ambitious goals for food security and overall sustainable development.

These agreements all demonstrate a great commitment among all countries to ensure a sustainable agriculture sector that can feed a growing population

This leads me to conclude on a positive note… !

Thank you,