Big wet highlights our food security’s vulnerability
EARLIER this month Queensland fruit and vegetable growers were dealing with the consequences of a glut. The bumper season had flooded the market with high quality produce but was delivering minimal return for growers.
However, recent weather events in the Wide Bay and North Burnett growing regions have turned the situation on its head and many Queensland vegetable crops are in short supply.
The sudden turnaround highlights the volatility of the fruit and vegetable business with growers at the mercy of a supply and demand driven marketplace. Weather events have an enormous impact on the supply of fruit and vegetables reinforcing the need to remain vigilant about food security in an unpredictable climate.
Food security is defined as: “All people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life”.
Although Australia maintains its ranking as one of the world’s most food secure nations, threats to this remain ever-present and real.
When natural resources and resilience is factored in, Australia’s baseline ranking of 5th in the world for food security tumbles down the rankings to an adjusted 14th.
This should be alarming but not surprising to Queensland growers who routinely ride the roller-coaster of changing seasons and weather events.
The food security index is designed to be a wake-up call for governments to critically assess and address how they can provide their citizens with quality food. Quite clearly, Australia’s major weakness lies within its susceptibility to natural disasters which needs to be addressed. Although the recent weather events have not directly challenged our national food security, they have once again brought the issue to the front of our minds.
Protecting Queensland’s fruit and vegetable production must be a government priority by addressing our national weaknesses, natural disaster preparedness and access to natural resources.
Growcom says it’s important the government works on a national food security plan.