Fresh food prices could soar

In Australasia, Global Food Crisis, Governments & Politics, News Headlines

A food security summit in Brisbane is hearing prices are expected to increase by up to 50 per cent over the next 10 years, making fresh food unattainable for some people.

Forum chairman Professor Geoffrey Lawrence says the price of food has doubled since 2000. He predicts prices will continue to increase, especially staples such as rice, corn and wheat.

He says many global factors are responsible.

“There’s very little additional arable land to bring into production,” he said.

“Productivity rates in farming have plateaued, irrigated water is not going to be all that much available.

“The final major one is that climate change is going to raise sea levels and those increased sea levels are going to inundate productive areas.”

Professor Lawrence says climate change will eradicate food production areas in India, China, Indonesia and Bangladesh.

“In the Murray-Darling Basin [in Australia] there’s likely to be with worst case scenario a 40 per cent decline in available irrigation water which is going to limit the amount of crops,” he said.

He says there needs to be more spending on agricultural research to improve crop yields and less wastage of imperfect fresh food in western countries.

“The supermarkets in particular where 70 per cent of our food is sold in Australia are very careful about getting what they see as the best products.

“That means there’s a lot of food wastage and that food would normally be available but it’s not picked up by the supermarkets.”

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