Growcom fears for Australian food security
GROWCOM has called for government to act to ensure Australia’s food security in the face of rising levels of imports.
Already up to 34 per cent of fruit and 19 per cent of vegetables consumed in Australia are imported, Growcom said.
The call was made by chief executive Alex Livingstone at t he Brisbane l aunch of a Growcom report outlining food security i ssues f acing t he horticulture industry.
Mr Livingstone said in dollar terms, Australia imports processed fruit and vegetables with a greater value than those it exports.
‘‘ While we still export more fruit, nuts and fresh or chilled vegetables than we import, the gap has been significantly narrowing in the past decade,’’ he said.
Mr Livingstone said while successive governments had lauded Australia’s agricultural exports as a sign there were no threats to the nation’s food security, his organisation was not convinced.
‘‘ Figures to support these arguments are biased by a small number of heavily exportfocussed industries, such as meat and grains,’’ he said.
‘‘ Food security should not be measured solely by how much production is exported.
‘‘ There is also a need to look at how much of the food we eat is imported and consider whether imported products will continue to be cheap, or even available, in the face of f orecast burgeoning world populations.’’
Mr Livingstone said Growcom had developed a policy paper on food security which it would discuss with the Federal Government during development of the National Food Plan.