Australia Wants to be Food Bowl, to Modernise Farm Sector

Jul 20, 2012 02:55 AM EDT | By Sriranjini

grains
Food is in short supply in several Southern African countries.
(Photo : flickr.com/Candace Fladager)

Australia has come up with its first National Food Plan.

The food industry in Australia is considered to be the most important sector in the country. The proposed National Food Plan aims to make the food industry even bigger and better, in order to become the 'food bowl' of Asia, said a green report released by the government.

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The proposal for the National Food Plan will outline a food security plan along with a possible increase in food exports. The UN expects the global food demand to increase by 77 percent by the year 2050. The Australian federal government aims to capitalize on this.

 According to the report, the Australian food industry not only provides food to its own citizens, but also to an additional 40 million people, in the form of exports. It is looking towards Asia as a major market for its food.

"Australia produces enough food to feed a nation almost three times our size, our food system is safe and stable and there are many new opportunities to export more food to Asia," Australian Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig said in a statement this week.

Furthermore, how Australia navigates challenges such as climate change, a price on carbon, the relationship between supermarkets and suppliers, rising rates of obesity and fresh food in indigenous communities, are some of the reasons for the National Food Plan.

The key growth commodities in the food sector are beef, wheat, dairy, sheep and sugar. The National Food Plan will be focusing on this. But, the Plan implies that it will be difficult to undertake such a project without adopting new technologies, like genetically modified crops. However, the Australian government will support whatever the farmers choose to plant.

Farmers' decisions, the document adds, will be determined by factors such as market acceptance and the costs of production.

The proposal also deals with the fact that a lot of foreign investment will be required to bring the National Food Plan to fruition.

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