Jan 20, 2012

The inconvenient facts on food security

A report on the level of foreign ownership in our food industry produced some inconvenient facts for food security hysterics.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

The food security issue has already blown up this year, courtesy of an ABARES report on Wednesday about levels of foreign ownership in agriculture.

The report drew a smattering of media coverage but the usual food security hysteria was missing because of the inconvenient reality check it delivered, that only 11.3% of Australian farmland was owned or partly owned by foreign companies.

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12 thoughts on “The inconvenient facts on food security

  1. Holden Back

    How dare you bring facts into such a debate!

  2. Lord Barry Bonkton

    Waiting for S.B to come in with “Gillard ly ing labor govt. Blah blah blah , my tony will fix all this and kick out the chinese.

  3. Watts Corey

    Just once it would be nice if someone actually looked up the definition of food security. According to the United National Food & Agriculture Organization ‘food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life’.

    Is Australia’s food security, then, under any kind of threat *even* if we to take the hyperbole at face value (which would be silly, but just for argument’s sake…)? Nope. Some communities within Australia certainly face food insecurity, e.g. some Aboriginal and/or remote communities, and some poorer suburbs perhaps, but that’s a whole other story. Now, the country’s food security *is* under long-term threat from unbridled climate change, rising oil and fertilizer prices, etc. But to acknowledge these genuine risks and problems would be too hard for many in the rural lobby. Far easier to make up a scary story that plays to Australians’ xenophobia.

  4. davidk

    Our food security is under sovereign risk.

  5. nami

    Nice article, thanks. Aside from the ownership of the agricultural land, the quality of food in the future will be the key. When you put super phosphate on the soil it contains 3 minerals. These minerals make plants grow well and even make them look nutritious, however the body needs many more minerals and vitamins to remain healthy and if it isn’t in the soil it isn’t going to be in the plant. So another interesting topic may be :Quality Food Security

  6. nami

    Oh and agree with LBB, I can’t control my excitement waiting for S.B to add her logic to the debate

  7. Matt Fisher

    Without agreeing or disagreeing that have a problem with
    foreign ownership of agricultural land and food security; two
    points of issue:

    Firstly, the salient question may be not only about the current rate of
    foreign ownership but also what current trends
    suggest about the future.

    Secondly, what counts as ‘agricultural land’? If all the vast tracts of
    cattle grazing land in inland Australia were taken out of the equation,
    perhaps the ‘proportion’ issue might look somewhat different.

  8. Hugh (Charlie) McColl

    Matt Fisher, it would look pretty dodgy if the ‘equation’ was made to look better or different by removing Aboriginal land ( “vast tracts of cattle grazing land in inland Australia”). Most of the remaining cattle country is owned by some of Australia’s biggest agribusiness corporations. It wouldn’t pass unnoticed if even one of them was bought by a foreign, government-owned or controlled company. They might even be happy to put a nuclear waste dump on it.
    Now, would that (foreign) government need to be a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty or would it be the UN Refugee Convention? Or would they just have to be nicely turned out?

  9. jaywhar

    if someone from the bush was in cabinet then the facts would be different!

  10. AR

    It was not part of the remit but, for the ‘food security hysterics’, it’s fortunate that their bogan targets don’t know, and wouldn’t understand were it tattooed on their receding foreheads, that the vast majority of Oz agricultural output is exported – 70%+ of meat, wheat, 90% of rice (FFS, in ASIA!?!) and significant quantities of other foodstuffs.

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