AUSVEG, the national peak industry body representing the interests of around 9,000 vegetable and potato growers, has warned that Australia’s food security is at risk unless protective measures are taken.
Speaking at the Annual General Meeting of the NSW Farmer’s Federation’s Horticulture Committee, AUSVEG CEO Richard Mulcahy said Australia does not have an infinite amount of agricultural resources and action needs to happen now to protect the security of Australia’s home grown food supply. He spoke impassionedly about the importance of maintaining Australia’s horticulture sector and food production capabilities.
“Increased global demand for food will both challenge and provide opportunities for Australian agriculture,” said Mr Mulcahy.
He added that Australia needs to focus on maintaining quality of land and water availability if it has any hope of being able to feed the nation for the future, let alone trying to supply on an international scale.
Global population is currently estimated at 6.92 billion and is predicted to jump to almost 9 billion by 2050.
Increase in global food demand is a serious issue and needs to be a high priority for Australia to ensure that Australian growers are given the tools to keep up with rising demand, as well as preserving quality in resources such as soil and water.
Mr Mulcahy said that significant factors in the issue of food security are: price competiveness; the increased level of imported food and inadequate testing of food imports.
“With a predicted 2 billion more mouths to feed over the next 40 years, we need to safeguard the horticulture industry in Australia because if international growers replace our local producers we shall be vulnerable as a nation,” said Mr Mulcahy.