Australia is likely to rejoin the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) despite the federal opposition's objections to the move.

Australia was a founding member of the United Nations aid agency but pulled out in 2004 because of governance concerns.

The federal government last year announced it would rejoin IFAD, which is dedicated to eradicating rural poverty in developing countries after it had implemented major reforms.

It has pledged $126.4 million over four years from 2012/13.

Deputy opposition leader Julie Bishop said there was no disputing more had to be done to address future food security issues, with increasing demand for protein rich food and cereals.

The coalition supports efforts to improve international food security but there was a duty to ensure taxpayer money was directed to organisations which were accountable.

"My concerns focus solely on the organisation, IFAD, its history with organisational shortcomings and its strategic fit within the Australia aid program," Ms Bishop said.

At the time of the withdrawal from IFAD, AusAid had raised concerns about a lack of funding directed to South-East Asia and the Pacific and shortcomings in its management and donor relationships.

The Australian government must satisfy itself that all of IFAD's shortcomings had been addressed, Ms Bishop said.

"We must also be assured that the millions of dollars that will be required to support Australia's own membership of IFAD are not better applied elsewhere," she said.

The federal government should delay the bill until all concerns about IFAD's governance are addressed and the impact of the reform process assessed, Ms Bishop said.

Labor MP Nick Champion said AusAid had recommended Australia rejoin the fund after new governance arrangements had been put in place.

The United States and UK governments were contributing.

"It seems just sensible to rejoin again," Mr Champion told parliament.

Mr Champion said IFAD was more focused on the Asia Pacific and on corruption issues.

"The organisation, while not perfect, conceptually it is a good one," he said.

Despite the objections of coalition MPs, Mr Champion said if they were to form government after the 2013 election they would likely continue on the same path Labor had set.

Debate on the International Fund for Agricultural Development Amendment Bill 2012 was adjourned.


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