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Finding Ways to Improve Australia’s Food Security Situation

Author

Listed:
  • Quentin Farmar-Bowers

    () (The Grange, East Malvern, Victoria 3145, Australia)

Abstract

Although Australia exports more than half of its agricultural production, there are food security problems as the current food supply systems in Australia fail to deliver healthy diets to all Australians and fail to protect the natural resources on which they depend. In addition, the food systems create “collateral damage” to the natural environment including biodiversity loss. In coming decades, Australia’s food supply systems will be increasingly challenged by resource price inflation and falling yields due to climate change. Government and business are aiming to increase production and agricultural exports. This will increase pressure on agricultural resources and exacerbate “collateral” damage to the environment. The Australian public has an ongoing interest in issues associated with the food systems including the environment, education, health and sustainability. A health-giving diet is essential for a full life and over a life-time people need food security. Currently economy development and social planning is undertaken through the pragmatic application of a set of ideas, such as relying on markets and deregulation, collectively referred to as neoliberalism. This paper contends that the neoliberal approach is not solving the current and developing problems in food security and agriculture more generally and suggests that more emphasis should be given to alternatives approaches. Seven alternatives approaches are suggested that could be used to identify gaps and guide the creation of overarching goals in economic development and social planning to improve food security and secure the other material goods and social arrangements that all Australians require to live full lives. However, changing large systems such as those involved in food supply is difficult because vested interests in the existing arrangements make the current systems resilient to change. There are a range of leverage points that have differing abilities to change systems. The paper points out that goals and information flows are good leverage points and suggests establishing overarching goals for the systems relevant to food and restructuring the flow of information about these systems will help reform the food supply systems in Australia.

Suggested Citation

  • Quentin Farmar-Bowers, 2015. "Finding Ways to Improve Australia’s Food Security Situation," Agriculture, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 5(2), pages 1-27, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jagris:v:5:y:2015:i:2:p:286-312:d:50257
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Michael Chappell & Liliana LaValle, 2011. "Food security and biodiversity: can we have both? An agroecological analysis," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 28(1), pages 3-26, February.
    2. repec:eee:ecoser:v:12:y:2015:i:c:p:55-70 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Jérôme Pelenc & Minkieba Kevin Lompo & Jérôme Ballet & Jean-Luc Dubois, 2013. "Sustainable Human Development and the Capability Approach: Integrating Environment, Responsibility and Collective Agency," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(1), pages 77-94, February.
    4. Meyer, Samantha B. & Coveney, John & Henderson, Julie & Ward, Paul R. & Taylor, Anne W., 2012. "Reconnecting Australian consumers and producers: Identifying problems of distrust," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(6), pages 634-640.
    5. Ejaz Qureshi, M. & Hanjra, Munir A. & Ward, John, 2013. "Impact of water scarcity in Australia on global food security in an era of climate change," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 136-145.
    6. Francisco Menezes, 2001. "Food Sovereignty: A vital requirement for food security in the context of globalization," Development, Palgrave Macmillan;Society for International Deveopment, vol. 44(4), pages 29-33, December.
    7. Amartya Sen, 2013. "The Ends and Means of Sustainability," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(1), pages 6-20, February.
    8. Don Gunasekera & David Newth & John Finnigan, 2011. "Reconciling the Competing Demands in the Human‐Earth System: Ensuring Food Security," Economic Papers, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 30(3), pages 296-306, September.
    9. Kingwell, Ross S., 2006. "Climate change in Australia: agricultural impacts and adaptation," Australasian Agribusiness Review, University of Melbourne, Melbourne School of Land and Environment, vol. 14.
    10. Martha Nussbaum, 2011. "Capabilities, Entitlements, Rights: Supplementation and Critique," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(1), pages 23-37.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Bradley Ridoutt & Danielle Baird & Kathryn Bastiaans & Ross Darnell & Gilly Hendrie & Malcolm Riley & Peerasak Sanguansri & Julie Syrette & Manny Noakes & Brian Keating, 2017. "Australia’s nutritional food balance: situation, outlook and policy implications," Food Security: The Science, Sociology and Economics of Food Production and Access to Food, Springer;The International Society for Plant Pathology, vol. 9(2), pages 211-226, April.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    agriculture; Australia; diet; food security; natural resources; system change;

    JEL classification:

    • Q1 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture
    • Q10 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - General
    • Q11 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Aggregate Supply and Demand Analysis; Prices
    • Q12 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Micro Analysis of Farm Firms, Farm Households, and Farm Input Markets
    • Q13 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Markets and Marketing; Cooperatives; Agribusiness
    • Q14 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Finance
    • Q15 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Land Ownership and Tenure; Land Reform; Land Use; Irrigation; Agriculture and Environment
    • Q16 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - R&D; Agricultural Technology; Biofuels; Agricultural Extension Services
    • Q17 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agriculture in International Trade
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy

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