The one thing all humans have in common is the need for food.
‘Australian farmers feed 61 million people each year, here and overseas, and supply 93% of our country’s daily food.
There are 85,681 farm businesses in this country, down from 132,000 in ten years, and 99 per cent Australian owned.
Each Australian farmer produces enough food to feed 600 people – 150 at home and 450 overseas.
Australian grown food feeds (at least in part) 36.6 million people outside Australia. So our food growers contribute to the food security of not just Australia but many nations.
Right now 51% of farms are in Queensland and NSW, much of which is drought declared.
Australian farmers are the least subsidised food and fibre growers of all 34 countries in the OECD.
On average $4,407 per individual is spent on Australian grown food each year here (93% of total $4739 spend) but the majority of people don’t know what regions their food is grown in and have never met a farmer.
One in seven Australian jobs (1.6 million) are in the farm-dependent economy.
Suicide rates in rural areas are consistently 40 per cent higher than the rates in metropolitan areas, according to Sane Australia. And 50 per cent less money is spent on mental health services in rural and remote Australia. Some psychologists working on the frontline predict a mental health epidemic in drought-affected food growing regions.
From $1 public investment in food and fibre industries, $12 benefits are generated by farmers.
National Farmers Federation
And here is one way of looking at the current issue: “The next few decades will present unprecedented challenges and opportunities for the Australian food sector. Placing the consumer at the centre of healthy, sustainable and ethical food systems will be increasingly important, whether that consumer lives in Brisbane or Beijing. New ways of connecting consumers to producers will become commonplace, creating more informed and empowered consumers, and rewarding innovation. Australia can feed many more people than we currently do, but the real issue is to do this while ensuring our food system is healthy, sustainable and fair.” Bill Bellotti Professor Global Change Institute, University of Qld.