The report is the first issue in ABARES new Science and Economic Insights series and finds that Australia produces twice as much food as it consumes, produces almost all its fresh food and can easily afford the food it imports.
ABARES Deputy Executive Director Paul Morris said that Australia’s prosperity and participation in global food trade underwrite the nation’s food security.
“Challenges that face Australia’s ability to produce increasing quantities of food in the future include climate change and the availability of resources such as water, fertilizer, energy and land for food production,” Morris said. “Further to these challenges we have seen some slow down in the growth of productivity in agriculture in recent years.”
“A more global concern is achieving food security for the approximately one billion people in the world who do not get enough food to eat,” Morris said. “Persistent poverty and ongoing population growth are likely to exacerbate the food deficit problems in a number of countries in the future.”
Australia exports half the food it produces, and this surplus contributes to the food supply of other countries. However, Australia’s exports amount to only a small part of the world’s food requirements, Morris said.
“The most effective contributions Australia can make to global food security are providing technical assistance to improve agricultural productivity in developing countries and continuing to seek improvements in international trading rules that allow the flow of food to where it is needed,” he said. “If we increase agricultural production in developing countries we can improve the incomes of rural people and increase the availability of food — both of these elements are essential to achieving real progress in reducing world hunger.”