Marie-Claude Bibeau, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, is in Italy to take part in the biennial conference of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization.
During her outreach, she’s also working with stakeholders to advance Canadian agriculture and agri-food trade and promote the safety and quality of Canadian exports.
The FAO was formally established almost 78 years ago during a meeting in Quebec City, headed by future prime minister Lester Pearson as a specialized UN agency to lead international efforts in the fight against global hunger.
Minister Bibeau was formally elected as Chair of the FAO conference on its first day. Minister Bibeau is the first female agriculture minister to be in the role and the first Canadian to chair the organization since 1997.
“This FAO conference is the largest in-person gathering of ministers of agriculture. Founded in Canada 75 years ago, the FAO is the world’s main authority for agricultural and food security issues. Chairing this meeting is an honour that highlights our exceptional agricultural and agri-food sector.” – The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
The Chair presides over the gathering of the full membership of the FAO, facilitating the exchange of views among all members as they work together towards global food security and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
The full FAO membership convenes every two years. This year’s theme is water resource management, and the conference is taking place in Rome, from July 1-7.
While in Italy, Minister Bibeau will also take the opportunity to discuss Canadian agricultural opportunities with Italian agri-food stakeholders, including the mutual benefits of the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement.
In 2022, Canada exported nearly $1.1 billion in agriculture and food products to Italy, an increase of 33.2 per cent from the previous year. The exports consisted mainly of Canada’s high-quality durum wheat and soybeans.
She will host a roundtable discussion with female leaders in agriculture and agri-food from around the world, meet with Canadian industry associations, and meet Italian businesses that use Canadian agriculture and agri-food products.
There will be opportunities on the margins of the FAO for Minister Bibeau to meet with counterparts from numerous other countries as well as with FAO officials to help push progress on global food security and enhance bilateral relations and trade opportunities while working to resolve trade issues.