“Great Tully sugar sell-off proves bittersweet”, The Australian, 6/7. The topic of food security has been getting some media attention in Australia recently, due to people realizing that foreign companies are purchasing vast tracts of farmland here. This means that food grown here by them will be sent overseas. Add this to the foolish government policy of letting developers build over arable land and Australia may well have to import food for its citizens in the future.
His concern is that Australia is selling off its food-producing capacity, piece-by-piece, without thinking through the implications of what foreign ownership means. “We seem to be selling off the farm so we can go offshore ourselves,” he told The Australian. “We’ve got large superannuation funds and other funds available for investment in this country, but the people running them overlook the significant assets in this country because they think they can always get a better deal offshore. I see that as a real shame, that people overseas can see the value in our businesses and enterprises here, but we can’t seem to.”
Perhaps if the food supply situation became dire, the Government could seize the land back in the name of national security? Other countries should take responsibility for containing their own growth, not expect to keep grabbing resources from others.
“A Future of Price Spikes”, Time magazine, 14/7, looks at the concern of rising food prices and says that technology has enabled Thomas Malthus’s predictions (the planet’s population grows exponentially, while food production increases arithmetically) to be staved off – for now. But rising populations and decimation of the environment are pushing technology to its limits, and the world has only about 3 month’s wheat storage in reserve should some sort of blight wipe out the world’s wheat crops (illustrating the danger of reliance upon a limited variety of food products). The article asserts that “what we need is a new green revolution” – better technology such as genetically engineering foods, hardier seeds, fairer food distribution. But the world’s population will continue to rise and environmental destruction will hamper the attempts to increase food supplies.
Little media attention was given to recent reports about human activity in the oceans – mainly overfishing and dumping waste – threatening to wipe out marine species, but the sea is another major provider of food so this is an obvious area of concern.