Minister Bibeau chairs FAO conference in Italy and strengthens links with our international partners

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OTTAWA, ON, July 7, 2023 /CNW/ – The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food concluded her ministerial outreach to Italy today, where she chaired the biennial Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations Conference, met with bilateral counterparts and with Italian businesses in the southern region of Puglia.

Minister Bibeau was the first woman to ever chair the FAO conference and the first Canadian to do it since 1997. This year’s FAO theme was water resource management. Canada urged conference participants to leverage innovation and collaboration even more with farmers and stakeholders to better manage precious water resources to produce more food to feed the world. 

In addition to presiding over the conference, Minister Bibeau met with Italian agri-food stakeholders, Canadian industry associations, and Canadians working at Rome-based international organizations and agencies. The Minister highlighted the strong economic ties and common values between Canada and Italy, especially the mutually beneficial trade in Canadian durum wheat, and how to increase trade and investments between Canada and Italy already benefitting under the Canada-EU Comprehensive and Economic Free Trade Agreement (CETA).

Minister Bibeau also met bilaterally with the Philippines, her international counterparts from Australia, Netherlands and Mexico, and Italy’s Minister of Agriculture to reinforce Canada’s commitment to deepening and diversifying agricultural trade; promoting Canadian agriculture and agri-food products; increasing the sustainability and innovation of agricultural production; and global food security.

On the sidelines of the FAO Conference, Minister Bibeau chaired a roundtable with women ministers and leaders working in the agriculture and agri-food sector, where they discussed ideas on advancing gender equality and ways to increase female leadership in the sector. This included the kinds of investments governments could make in order to have real and positive impacts—whether in innovation, digital infrastructure, or facilitating access to financing, training and agricultural land.

During her two days in Puglia, the Minister toured local farming operations, Italian milling and pasta companies to discuss ways of enhancing business ties with Canada and to promote sustainable and innovative Canadian agriculture. The Minister met with Andriani SpA located in Gravina in Puglia, a firm specializing in gluten-free products that will be locating its first North American production facility in London, Ontario. Minister Bibeau also met with officials from Candeal Commercio, an Italian miller and important buyer and processor of Canadian durum wheat. The Minister’s meetings further included pasta producer, La Molisana, a large purchaser of Canadian grain that is used in products for their export markets, as well as Mulino Caputo, a world-renowned miller of specialty flours, and Amber Srl, which is an important trader of both durum and soft wheat.

Throughout her visit, Minister Bibeau reaffirmed Canada’s commitment to remain a reliable source of safe, high-quality agriculture and agri-food products to the world, and shared Canada’s views on the importance of achieving more sustainable, resilient and inclusive agri-food systems.


“It was an honour to serve as chair of the FAO conference–as the first ever female agriculture minister and the first Canadian in the job since 1997–and to work with the other 194 members on bettering global food security and other sustainable development goals. I was especially inspired during the round table of women leaders I chaired, where we discussed opportunities to further women’s voices and leadership in agriculture. In addition, this week was an opportunity for Canada to showcase to Italy and other international partners that we are a reliable trading partner for high-quality and safe agricultural products, including durum wheat, and a leader in sustainable agriculture.”

–    The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Quick facts
  • In 2022, CanadaItaly bilateral goods trade totalled $15.0 billion (€10.9 billion), an increase of nearly 52% over pre-CETA trade.
  • In 2022, Canada imported approximately $12.1 billion (€8.9 billion) in goods from Italy, an increase of nearly 61% over pre-CETA imports.
  • In 2022, Canada exported approximately $2.8 billion (€2.0 billion) in goods to Italy, an increase of nearly 22% over pre-CETA exports.
  • As a founding member of the FAO, Canada is ranked 6th amongst Member Country contributors to this key UN organization. In 2022-23, Canada provided over CDN$100 million in voluntary and assessed contributions to support the FAO’s important work on food security around the world.
  • This year’s FAO Conference theme, water resource management, is also a Canadian priority under the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership (Sustainable CAP). Federal, provincial, and territorial governments recently reached a $3.5-billion, five-year agreement in support of sustainable agriculture and agri-food sector practices, including the adoption of practices protecting water resources.
Associated links
  • Minister Bibeau in Italy for Food and Agriculture Organization conference, local outreach
  • Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations
  • The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals
  • Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA)

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SOURCE Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

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