Food security discussion paper (AH09009)
This is a final research report from Hort Innovation’s historical archives. Please note that as these reports may date back as far as the 1990s, the content and recommendations within them may be superseded by more recent research.
What was it all about?
Growcom’s review of food security issues for Hort Innovation (which was then Horitculture Innovation Australia) identified a diverse range of threats that may have impacted on Australia’s domestic food security and would have important consequences for the $7.3bn per year horticulture industry.
The report found that Australia was not as food secure as suggested by simplistic examinations of the relevant data. Australia at the time imported 34 per cent of fruit consumed and 19 per cent of vegetables. The report found that these imports could disappear as the world population heads for 9 billion people by 2050 and countries retain their production for their own people.
The world would need to double food production by 2050 just to ensure that the number of hungry people did not increase from its level of 1 billion people at the time.
The report recommended that this challenge to feed more people with the same or less land and water would require an increase in research and development funding from the 3 per cent of the gross value of agricultural production at the time to 5 per cent.
The authors of the report stated that for food security to be properly addressed in the Australian horticulture sector, all levels of Government, industry and research and development corporations needed to work together in a co-operative and co-ordinated manner to address the diverse challenges with which we were faced with.
The report’s major recommendation was for a central Food Security Agency to be set up by the Australian Government.
The report also recommended that policy makers and the general public needed to be better informed on the current state of food security in horticulture and appreciate that food security was not a form of protectionism.
A number of actions were suggested to address the problem of growers leaving the industry due to sustained low prices and government regulatory burdens, which in turn increased the market's reliance on imports. One supermarket chain estimated that there were more than 130,000 different laws across Australia relating to horticulture growing.
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This project was funded by Hort Innovation (then Horticulture Australia Limited).
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