Securing future supplies

BUDGETING and allocating a certain amount of pay packets towards groceries is not a new phenomenon.

But leading experts sparked concerns prices would continue to increase as the world tries to deal with climate change.

The future of the world’s food supplies were tabled this week when the Global Change Institute hosted a public forum at Customs House.

The event opened a three-day Food Security Summit, which set out to define Australia’s role in feeding the global population, which is set to pass nine billion by 2050.

Gladstone residents June Hofstetter, Elaine Holt and Mavis Griffith say food prices have already gone up too much.

“Once they go up, they never come back down,” Ms Holt said.

Forum chair and GCI agri-food expert professor Geoffrey Lawrence said food security was on the top of national and international agenda.

“As food prices over the next decade are expected to remain up to 45 per cent higher than in the previous one, addressing the root cause of hunger, poverty, will be as important as finding technical solutions,” he said.

GCI Food Security research focal area co-leader professor Michael D’Ochhio said improved methods for growing crops and raising livestock would play an important role in securing the world’s future food supplies, particularly in Australia.

“Currently Australia makes an important contribution to global food security and our exports feed about 40 million people outside Australia — the question is will it be able to continue to do so?” professor D’Ochhio said.

Speakers at the forum include Malcolm Duthie, Gambia’s United Nations World Food Program country director David Crombie, National Farmers’ Federation president Jagjit Plahe, an international political economist from Monash University, and science commentator and author Julian Cribb.

Based on the discussions at the Food Security Summit, GCI will forward recommendations for action to the Federal Government’s national reviews of food security. The document will also be widely circulated nationally and globally, and will form the basis of future food security-based research at the GCI.

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