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ABARES says Australia’s food supply is secure

By Country News

The latest Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences Insights report says concerns raised about Australian food security are misplaced.

ABARES executive director Steve Hatfield-Dodds said Australia exported about 70 per cent of agricultural production and did not have a food security problem.

“Australia produces substantially more food than it consumes, even in drought years,” Dr Hatfield-Dodds said.

“Some of our largest industries, such as beef and wheat, are heavily export focused.

“Other industries like horticulture, pork and poultry sell most of their production into the domestic market, with an emphasis on the supply of fresh produce.”

Dr Hatfield-Dodds said Australia imported only about 11 per cent of our food by value.

“Australian agricultural production and food supply chains are adapted to cope with our very variable climate,” he said.

“This results in stable supply for domestic consumption, while exports absorb the ups and downs associated with wet and dry periods.”

Dr Hatfield-Dodds said global food supplies and access had improved dramatically over the past 70 years, driven primarily by increased physical productivity and crop yields.

“Recent rain and a positive seasonal forecast make it more likely that production volumes will increase, providing the best outlook in several years.

“The International Grains Council is forecasting that world wheat, rice, maize (corn) and soybean production will all reach record levels in 2020 to 2021.”

Australian agricultural producers rely on global supply chains and imported inputs, and shortages or disruptions to these inputs could impact on profitability.

“While action is already in train to address key issues, it will be important for business and government to continue actively monitoring and managing emerging these risks,” Dr Hatfield-Dodds said.

To view the latest ABARES Insights paper, Analysis of Australian food security and the COVID-19 pandemic, visit: https://www.agriculture.gov.au/abares/publications/insights/australian-food-security-and-COVID-19