Australia is only just scratching the surface

Australia is only just scratching the surface


Marcus Oldham Multimedia
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It seems to be a reoccurring theme among media sources today that the outlook for future food security is a rather pessimistic one, and it is fair to say at face value, such an outlook can be warranted.

It seems to be a reoccurring theme among media sources today that the outlook for future food security is a rather pessimistic one, and it is fair to say at face value, such an outlook can be warranted.

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Need we hit the panic button now? Maybe not

The figures may make some a little squeamish.

By 2050, global population is expected to hit 9.7 billion, equating to 70 per cent growth from today’s basis.

Oliver Vidor believes demand for Australia's food products will increase on the back of global population growth.

Oliver Vidor believes demand for Australia's food products will increase on the back of global population growth.

With it will come the inherent increase in food demand by similar levels.

Add to this the fact that increased production must come off a declining land resource base, and that the impacts from climate change are predicted to decrease agricultural production by 2pc each decade up until the year 2100. It doesn’t paint a very rosy picture does it?

Need we hit the panic button now? Maybe not.

Let’s take a look a look at some of the key statistics that may offer a counter argument to all the potential naysayers out there.

Oliver Vidor

According to the Climate Council of Australia, if just one third of current global food wastage was prevented and subsequently utilised, an additional 750 million people could be sustained off it. In terms of production capacity, there is huge global potential to push efficiencies in a bid to try and meet biologically possible thresholds.

Take wheat as an example.

Australia is currently the world’s most efficient producer of the commodity, averaging 10kg of production per millimetre of rainfall/moisture. However, this figure is still only half of the hypothesised biological limit. Put some of that thought into perspective, there is no clear answer when it comes to the question of future food security, nor is there, or ever will be, a sliver bullet approach.

One thing to be assured however, is the emphasis that must be applied to further efficiency gains and subsequent production output for agricultural systems, and the prospects for Australian primary producers to capitalise on this.

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