FOOD. SHOW SOME RESPECT
Food has an image problem.
And it’s not just about our expanding waistlines, or our warring supermarkets and the damage they’re doing to our milk industry.
It’s about food’s role in our society, its future and that we take for granted that it will always be there for the eating.
Given all the attention that Australia’s mining boom and its earnings generate, one might be forgiven for thinking that we’d be better off ditching our weet-bix for a bowl of coal.
But a little-recognised fact is that Australia’s agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors have significantly outstripped their fellow manufacturing, mining and retail sectors in terms of productivity growth for the past 15 years.
What this means is despite this nation continually underestimating its real value, the people responsible for delivering the food have been doing their job extremely well for a really long time.
Its continued success, however, is not a certainty. Recent events such as Facet 2012 have raised the spectre that Australia’s food future isn’t as assured as we might like to believe.
Even the Federal Government now admits it hasn’t done enough to acknowledge the importance of food – and all that it encompasses.
So, it’s developing a National Food Plan, which it hopes will produce its first “integrated approach to food-related policies and programs for the benefit of food businesses and consumers”.
It’s a tad mind-boggling that it’s taken to 2012 before someone in the government backrooms thought it appropriate to set up a plan to protect the nation’s food security but perhaps we only have ourselves to blame.
Most of us can acknowledge it’s rather vital in our ability to, you know, live. But, what about its role in other ‘little’ matters of national interest?
Did you know that some 2 million Australians needed food relief last year?
More than 90 percent of all the fresh produce sold in Australia is grown in Australia. With such a high level of access to fresh food why are people in our own towns and cities unable to afford it?
Have you ever fired up the barbecue on a weekend and thought that 60 percent of Australia’s land mass is being managed by farmers? That’s a massive responsibility, which needs constant investment, as well as ongoing innovation to accommodate the many challenges thrown their way.
When was the last time you cleaned out your fridge – adding to the 351kg of food waste every Aussie generates each year – and considered how many people, worldwide, rely on Australia’s ability to feed them? It’s 60 million people worldwide, by the way, who are fed by Australian agriculture and fisheries.
A further 400 million people are helped through Australian-generated agricultural development programs.
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