AFGC welcomes Coalition’s focus on food security

Posted by Isobel Drake on 9th December 2009

The Coalition’s decision to elevate food security to Shadow Cabinet today has been welcomed by the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) – the leading representative of food and beverage manufacturers in the country.

Opposition leader Tony Abbott reappointed Member for Calare John Cobb as Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and he will take on Food Security as “the Coalition sees this as a critical challenge for Australia’s future”.

AFGC Chief Executive Kate Carnell applauded the Coalition’s recognition of food security, which was a major challenge facing Australia’s future.

“It’s essential that Australia continues to grow its food production and export base and we welcome this decision to highlight the importance of having long-term food security,” Ms Carnell said. “Food production is vital to Australia’s future economic growth, especially as the $100 billion industry is Australia’s largest manufacturing sector and employs more than 315,000 people, including about half in rural and regional centres.”

With predictions that the world population will reach 9 billion by 2050 and Australia’s population is expected to hit 35 million by 2040, experts believe that the world will need to double its current food production to meet these challenges in a carbon and water constrained environment.

“There are also many other challenges facing the industry including the increasing cost of carbon, energy, availability of water, rising imports and exports becoming more expensive with the strengthening Australian dollar,” Ms Carnell said. “That’s why AFGC has been calling on the Federal Government and Opposition to develop a National Food and Grocery Agenda to protect Australia’s food supply and help to overcome these challenges.”

AFGC also welcomed the Coalition’s commitment to ensuring positive action to become more energy efficient while maintaining industry competitiveness following the appointment of Climate Action Minister Greg Hunt.