18 May 2012

NZ joins international farmers organisation

9:07 am on 18 May 2012

New Zealand is one of about 30 countries to join a new international farmer advocacy body.

Federated Farmers has signed up to the World Farmers' Organisation (WFO) which aims to bring farmers from across the globe together to develop policies on common issues such as climate change, food security and trade.

Its predecessor, the International Federation of Agricultural Producers, disbanded two years ago.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has paid the $20,000 membership fee for this year.

Federated Farmers' president Bruce Wills says it's important that New Zealand, which exports about 90% of its agricultural products, is part of the WFO.

He says one of the main reasons for New Zealand to join the organisation was to have a voice on trade protectionism.

"With an organisation like this, which does have a fair bit of influence around United Nations and other policies, if they're heading down the track of trade protectionism, that's something that we want to have influence against ... so that we can pursue what we believe is the right course which is free trade and lifting the prosperity of farmer countries around the world," he says.

Mr Wills will attend the World Farmers' Organisation's annual conference in June in Rome.

Australia's National Farmers Federation has also joined the WFO.