Inquiry reveals recipe to ensure nation's food security

Liv CasbenAAP
Data shows Australians still throw out too many unused vegetables. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS)
Camera IconData shows Australians still throw out too many unused vegetables. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS) Credit: AAP

A national council, supply chain map and measures to eliminate waste are among recommendations from a major inquiry into Australia's food security.

The parliamentary probe also called for a national plan and a federal food minister.

The Australian Parliament's Agriculture Committee has released the report into its inquiry into food security in Australia, delivering 35 recommendations.

Committee chair Meryl Swanson said there were increasing domestic and international challenges to the nation's food security.

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"Systemic change is required so that all Australians, and those that depend on Australian food production, will be food secure," Ms Swanson said.

The National Farmers' Federation agreed Australia should adopt a national food plan.

"A national food plan would hopefully provide a lens through which policies which harm the sector could be scrutinised and supportive policies could be fast tracked," NFF president David Jochinke told AAP.

"A plan would keep decision makers accountable for the impact their choices have on our farm sector and Australians' cost of living."

Australians are still throwing away too many unused vegetables, with a third of the population binning fresh produce at least once a week, according to data from Birds Eye.

More than 7.6 million tonnes of food ends up in landfill each year.

The report was welcomed by the industry body for Australia's vegetable and potato industries, AUSVEG, which also backed a national food plan.

Michael Coote from AUSVEG said key concerns such as labour shortages, vegetable consumption and biosecurity had been considered in the recommendations.

"A minister for food could provide an overarching mechanism to progress some key priorities," Mr Coote said.

CropLife, the peak group representing plant science in Australia, said a food plan would improve access to agricultural technologies that supported sustainable food production.

"Innovations like modern pesticides and crop biotechnology not only increase the yields on available farming land, but they also reduce food loss and waste," CropLife's Matthew Cossey said.

The report proposes measures to improve sustainability and resilience in the food supply chain, enhance access to labour and reduce food insecurity.

The committee held 24 public hearings, numerous site visits around Australia and received 188 written submissions on food security over the past 13 months.

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