Image: rick (Flickr)

Image: rick (Flickr)

Modelling shows Australia could become food insecure

24th November 2015

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Sarah James is a human geographer specialising in sustainable food systems and food planning.

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Research from The Australian National University (ANU) suggests that by 2050 Australia will become less food secure and need to import food to feed the population.

Researchers are hoping the results of two major research projects being presented at a symposium on Tuesday will be taken into consideration by Australian delegates heading to the UN COP21 Forum in Paris.

Organiser of the Creating a healthy and sustainable food system for Australia symposium, Professor Sharon Friel, said the two projects cover what Government, civil society groups and the food industry can do to help people have a healthy and environmentally-sustainable diet.

“We want delegates to raise food systems as an issue that matters for human and planetary health,” said Professor Friel, from the ANU Regulatory Institutions Network.

Agriculture, production, manufacturing, retail and consumer behaviour, each a part of the food system, are major contributors to environmental degradation including climate change.”

Researcher Dr Sarah James worked on one of the projects looking at what Australia’s food system will look like in the next 20-50 years if we continue at current production and consumption levels.

She said modelling done as part of the project showed some scary projections.

“Australia is currently a nation that exports a huge amount of food and is self-sufficient,” Dr James said.

“But this modelling suggests that not too long in the future, we will become less food secure, with a substantially reduced capacity to export,”

“It also suggests that some of the foods which we take for granted, we will have to import in the future,” she said.

Dr James said the results are not across the board, with some food areas faring better than others.

The Creating a healthy and sustainable food system for Australia symposium is being hosted by the ANU Regulatory Institutions Network (RegNet).

Updated:  10 August 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director, RegNet/Page Contact:  Director, RegNet