MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA — The Australian grain industry announced on July 30 that it has made a commitment to the country’s largest food relief organization, Foodbank Australia, to supply 3,000 tonnes of grain a year to help feed those in need.
Processors will donate factory time to process the grain into around 1,200 tonnes of breakfast cereal, 800 tonnes of pasta, 400 tonnes of flour and 240 tonnes of bread – the equivalent of 20 to 30 million meals.
Grain Trade Australia (GTA) will manage a Grain Industry Consultative Group, whose job it will be to coordinate the collection of the grain from individual growers through to major companies.
GTA Chairman, Peter Reading, made the announcement at the Australian Grains Industry Conference (AGIC) in Melbourne.
“We are delighted to make this commitment to Foodbank, who act as a conduit between the generosity of the food industry and the needs of the welfare sector,” Reading said. “The demand for healthy grain-based foods is increasing and that’s where we, as an industry, come in, starting after the next harvest.
“We believe the target is achievable and will be a world leading testament to the generosity of spirit that exists within the Australian grain industry.”
Chief Executive Officer of Foodbank Australia John Webster said the organization needs to double its food supply to ensure people facing a personal crisis don’t get turned away.
“Our research shows welfare agencies are turning away 90,000 people each month due to insufficient food supply, and this commitment by the grains industry will go a long way to bridging the gap,” Webster said. “Around 2.3 million Australians live below the poverty line. Those seeking food relief are not just the homeless and unemployed, but also the elderly, families struggling to put food on the table and the working poor.
“Nutrition is important to everyone but eating well is especially a challenge for those who are disadvantaged. We’ve worked with individual companies in the grains industry in the past, but this collaborative approach is a wonderful initiative by GTA. It represents an example of the generosity we see all the time, out there in rural Australia.”