Australia’s food supply guaranteed

A new report has affirmed Australia’s
credentials as one of the world’s most food secure nations, with our farmers
producing substantially more food than Australians consume, even during drought
years.

The latest Insights report by the Australian
Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics and Science (ABARES) details that
almost 89% of the food Australians enjoy is grown right here. Only 11% is
imported, 1.6% of that is fresh produce and the remainder, non-perishable
goods.

“Right now, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Australians are understandably
focussed on keeping themselves and their families well and key to that is a
plentiful, nutritious diet,” National Farmers’ Federation President Fiona
Simson said.

“In these uncertain times, we want to all Australians to know that farmers
are on the job.

“Working from home, as they always do, continuing to produce, in high
volumes, the milk, eggs, red meat, poultry, pork, grains,
fruit, vegetables and other staples Australians depend on.”

The report also confirmed that sometimes-bare supermarket shelves were not a sign of a shortage of any food, but rather a symptom
of COVID-19 panic buying.

“From paddock to plate, our nation’s food supply chain is a well-oiled
machine. However, as finely tuned as it is, the system needed some time to
adjust to the unfortunate over-zealous buying of some consumers – a situation
that has been experienced across the world.”

According to the latest figures, 70 per cent of Australia’s total agricultural
production is exported for the world to enjoy.

“This is true even during drought years like those most recently
experienced. Overall, each and every year, farmers grow significantly more than
our nation can consume.”

Ms Simson said the end destination for each commodity varied.

“For products like red meat and wheat, for example, the majority of annual
production goes to export. Whereas for horticulture, pork and poultry, the
focus is domestic markets.

“Notwithstanding this report’s findings, it is clear that ongoing dry
conditions and the impacts of water policy reform have materially reduced
Australia’s production of some commodities such as rice in the Riverina region
of NSW and Victoria.

“The NFF continues to call for improvements to the
management of the nation’s water resources to ensure the
future of the irrigated agriculture sector and the regions they support.”

Ms Simson said the report’s key ‘take away’ was that the provision of fresh
produce to Australians would always be guaranteed.

“Domestic demand remains relatively stable and export markets are able to
accommodate the production fluctuation that comes from operating in the highly
variable Australian farming environment.”

Ms Simson said as a proud multicultural community with global tastes,
Australia’s import of speciality goods provided a level of choice to shoppers.

“However, this report provides evidence that across our nation tonight and every night into the future most families
will be sitting down to a dinner of primarily Australian grown produce.

“Australians can feel a great sense of national pride in the high
quality, safe, plentiful produce our farmers grow and which is vital to our
everyday wellbeing,” Ms Simson said.

See the complete report here

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