Donate NOW Australia's Food Security
Please donate today to this Food Security Research Study. We are asking all Australians who care about our long term capacity to feed ourselves to donate to this research. Globally countries have recognised the issue of food security long before we started to recognise it, and they have acted accordingly by buying our manufacturing, storage and distribution companies and land. Australia has been targetted because we allow foreign control without counting the strategic cost to our national wealth creating and food security.
The ACCC and FIRB has allowed the supply chain after the farm gate of many of our food commodities to be controlled here by foreign interests, many of which do not reciprocate the open door policy. This means that our farmers have no control over the prices for their goods, and Australia does not get the full benefit of our assets.
This research looks at how we can secure our food supply and harness the skills of our farmers, who are among the most productive in the world and understand our land.
Even as little as $10.00 can make a difference.
The research will be in several stages and as soon as we meet our targets for the first stage we will get started. The percentage of our target will be posted here. Help us get to 100% quickly.
See below the background to the research proposed by Dr Mark McGovern who did the original research in 1999. The review is timely and results will be published on this web site and elsewhere.
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Food Security – Help us unlock the truth
Food Security - A Complex Issue and One of National Urgency
The issue of Food Security has not been top of mind in Australia till recently, and even now has not been addressed by our policy makers. Our farming population is ageing because there is little financial incentive for younger people to stay on the land. Generations of knowledge is being lost. Many farms are surviving only because of off- farm employment. These are the custodians of our clean green growing environment, yet they are under threat.
In the meantime we are allowing the sale of some of our best land to foreign countries or companies. This is not allowed in many other countries, and represents a threat to our food security, our capacity to feed ourselves and soverign risk.
Only recently has the media raised the issue and nothing is being done in the meantime while countries and companies can buy our wealth creating assets under $231m with no reference to our government. The USA can spend up to $954m.
These are our wealth creating assets and our capacity to feed ourselves and keep our communities and our farming skills vital.
We need to know the real situation and find solutions.
Many of our food and agriculture policies have been based on false assumptions, and in the meantime we have allowed the sale of strategic food industry sectors to be dominated by foreign interests and more recently countries to buy our land.
We have not reviewed the impact of these policies for over a decade despite a rapidly changing political and economic environment. It is urgent that we undertake research which takes an overview of all food industry sectors.
Background to Research Proposal on Australian Food Security
Building Australian Food Security -An Issue of Concern to All Australians
We invite every concerned Australian to support this research. Even if in a small way you can be part of the process.
The results for each stage will be published on this site. Corporate Members, Friends and registrants on this site will be notified. To find out how to register call us today on 1300 882 361 or follow the links on this site.
Proposal for the Research Study
The ability to feed the population effectively and safely is a core achievement of a successful nation. Food security is increasingly seen as a national priority in Australia as concerns rise about the availability of safe, affordable and responsibly produced products. Australia’s situation is deteriorating – on-farm and along the supply chain – for reasons that appear poorly understood. Better understanding of key situations, critical influences and potential apt responses is the goal of this research.
Australian agriculture and associated industries are in a serious crisis as a result of falling returns. Food security is being compromised. While many attribute this to drought, the high value of the Australian dollar, fractious farmers, a lack of effective policy reach or some other superficial factors, the real roots of problems lie much deeper. Occasional “good times” will not rectify such deep-seated problems.
Persistent problems and their roots have been hidden by major misunderstandings about Australian food, fibre and related (FFR) sectors and the markets they service. This research seeks to redress the balance through detailed industry and market analysis so as to provide a more properly informed basis for effective national industry policies. Most broadly, it seeks to assist in the establishment of viable national food security for Australians.
There is a mistaken view that even if the nation lost one-third of its farmers, Australia would still produce enough food to feed its people without becoming reliant on imports. This widely-held view rests on a false belief: that Australia exports the bulk of its agricultural product so the nation’s domestic food supplies are secure. The balances are much tighter than is currently recognised.
The lead researcher is Dr Mark McGovern , a QUT economist with a special focus on Australia’s agricultural and farm dependent industries. His detailed analysis offers a very different picture of Australian agriculture and this project would update and extend earlier work so as to develop a report with direct policy impact and high industry relevance.
Three of the issues seriously threatening Australia’s food security are:
Declining farm profits, and rising debts. Initial analysis of long-term trends from ABARE figures shows farm incomes trending towards zero in a decade or so (see attachment A). Ongoing declines in Australian farm profits along with predatory importing and targeted foreign direct investments threaten to undercut key rural industries and Australia’s food security. Servicing existing debt properly is very difficult in such an environment, while all undertakings will face increasing financial imposts if local and international risks rise further.
Markets serviced. Australia has been exporting around 25% of its agricultural product by value . Contrary to popular belief, Australia does not export 60-80% of its food and fibre production by value but only around 25% when properly analysed across various stages of production.
Rising global food insecurities. The deteriorating international environment has highlighted the food and energy imperatives for many nations, and Australia’s external position is poor. Strategies currently being adopted offshore could materially affect the well-being and food security of Australians, even in the absence of further crises.
Each threatens Australia’s food security. All need to be much better understood and discussed.
Policy needs to be current. It needs to be focussed on current challenges and needs, not those presumed a generation ago. Recognising that the era of “easy globalisation” is over, many nations have changed policy settings. Australian industries need to be well positioned for “the new normal”.
Deficit sectors and nations are particularly at risk in the post-GFC world. Australia and its agriculture are both in deficit.
Australian industries need relevant assessments to position themselves to advantage and reduce risks. Much needs to be done if Australian food security is to be sensibly and sustainably assured.
Through analyses of relatively under-utilised data from the ABS and other sources, Dr McGovern proposes to examine: the threats to Australia’s food security; the situations of agriculture and related sectors; attendant issues and opportunities; and associated policy needs and settings.
Anticipated research outputs include:
The trends in farm profits by rural sector and overall for agriculture.
Implications of farm profit trends for future production and food security.
Analysis of the potential effects of changes in farm profitability on interdependent rural and processing industries.
A detailed analysis of the value of the domestic and export markets of Australia’s rural industries, measured at the farm gate and at first stage production.
Evaluation of the trends in competing food and fibre imports, by rural sector.
Trends in the overall balance between food and fibre exports and competing imports.
Comparison of current findings with earlier studies.
Critical discussions of the direction of agricultural policy.
A mix of empirical and conceptual analysis will be applied to advance industry, government and community understanding of positions and prospects. As with any applied research, the broader goal is to improve not just dialogue between the rural sector, industry and policy makers, but also actual performance of the involved parties.
A theme of “Australian food security through viable enterprises acting more sustainably” captures a central image of the research. The enterprise and its associations within industries, regions, markets and supply chains are seen as pivotal to success.
The context is an inclusive one of Australians “winning together” while recognising stakeholder needs, responsibilities, situations and aspirations. This stands in marked contrast to that of uncritical competition where only minimal costs and returns are considered while considerations of risks are avoided.
Industry analysis will be used to demonstrate how stakeholders are currently “working together” along with the various situations faced. Identification and discernment of significant influences is needed if prospects are to be realistically appraised and questions such as “how might things be improved?” sensibly answered.
An analytical report is the main formal output envisaged. Obviously specific developments and points of focus need discussion as do extent, timing and budget but major reporting sections could include:
1. Value added:
• Incomes, and employment
– farm profits
– prices and terms of trade
– impacts of competing imports
– factory and network
• Capital formation
2. Industry profiles:
• Inter-industry structure
• National impacts
• Regional clustering
• Disposition of FFR outputs
3. Australian Food, Fibre and Related needs:
• food security (including availability, affordability, quality) and industry sectors.
• SEEC sustainability (Societal, Economic, Environmental and Cultural)
• positioning sectors effectively
4. Markets and current position:
• Export and domestic market shares for Australian food and fibre products
• Extent and roles of competing and complementary imports
• Balance of payments, including deterioration in the situation of Australia
5. Enhancing contributions and positioning of rural industries:
• National and international challenges
• Viable industries, in the broad sense
• Sustaining returns on SEEC capitals, regionally and nationally
• Needs well met, and beyond
The scope, detail and timing of the research agreed would determine the required budget. An indicative plan and budget follow.
THE PROPOSED RESEARCH PLAN
Reflecting these five points, a research plan in three parts is proposed:
A. Inter-industry analysis. Production and distribution processes along the whole supply chain are examined for food, fibre and related industries as they service both domestic and overseas markets. Inter-industry analysis enables the many interactions between various industries to be discerned. Aggregate flows will be analysed using published data for Australia as a whole, enabling key supply patterns to be quantified. The methods used are also applicable regionally, systemically and for various industry clusters so a basis for complementary or subsequent extensions by interested parties will be outlined to help build greater interconnectedness and coherence in industry and policy dialogues. (Points 1-2).
B. Food security and its foundations. Issues of food security, industry viability and institutional capacity in varied market and policy contexts are considered. Valued added analysis identifies current situations of key entities while stakeholder analysis is used to help establish the various relevant policy frames in use. Farm income and consumer price analyses demarcate some key conditions at two ends of the supply chain. The central question addressed is “What are we trying to achieve, and how are we going, in food security?” (Points 3-4)
C. Building industry viability and food security in Australia. Policy issues for the various stakeholders are explicitly examined. Ways by which both common and individual gains can be established are reviewed in relevant market, institutional and policy contexts. Specific recommendations will be developed from the research findings. (Point 5)
Detailed research reporting will be in interim reports at the completion of each stage with a final concise report then completed. Extensions could be developed if additional investigations are required in some areas but these lie beyond this proposal.
Appropriate industry and stakeholder dialogues will be particularly important in development of the proposal and in dissemination of research findings.
The research project itself will be organised as contract research with the Queensland University of Technology with Dr McGovern as the designated principal researcher. Extensive analysis of available data sources will be needed but only limited field work is envisaged.
Subsequent academic publications are anticipated as the research findings will be of considerable public interest and importance. Further dissemination of the research findings will be the responsibility of the research funders. Intellectual property arrangements will in accord with usual University practices for this type of research.
Finally, this document has been prepared following initial discussions about the need for research in this nationally important area, one of growing industry and public concern. Refinements will follow from further discussions and there is considerable scope to tailor and focus the research to meet a number of objectives in a timely and effective manner.
B.Sc., Dip.Ed., B.Econ, M.Reg.Sc., PhD
Over the past 18 months AUSBUY has been working with a number of groups in the Agriculture and Food Supply Sector addressing the issue of Food Security in a way that has not been done since 1999. Since then many decisions have been made which have impacted our food producers and processors. These have led to loss of wealth, innovation and control over our food assets.