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
GM, Media & Communications
0408 448 250