Parliamentary inquiry recognises the role of critical inputs in feeding the nation and beyond

    7 December 2023

    CropLife Australia welcomes the range of substantial recommendations made today by the House Standing Committee on Agriculture to address food security in Australia, and globally. The report highlights that food security presents a very real and growing challenge to the nation, requiring ongoing attention from industry, the community and governments.  

    “We commend the Committee for its comprehensive investigation over the past 12 months to ensure that the policy settings that underpin Australia’s food security are fit for the future,” said Chief Executive Officer of CropLife Australia, the national peak industry organisation for the plant science sector, Mr Matthew Cossey. 

    “It is a privilege that we are fortunate enough in Australia to be generally a food secure nation and also able to export around 70 per cent of what is produced in Australia overseas. While Australia cannot feed the world, the report acknowledges that our exports play a crucial role in quite literally feeding millions of people in other nations.  

    “The world needs to produce as much food over the next 50 years as we have since the beginning of humanity, if we are to deliver on the most basic of human rights, that is everyone having enough to eat.  

    “The reality is that our capacity to not only feed ourselves but also reliably export food overseas is reliant on science based innovative solutions. Almost 75 per cent of all Australian fruit, vegetables and grains production are directly attributed to farmers ability to use pesticides. Without access to modern crop protection products, farmers could lose as much as 50 per cent of their annual production to pests, weeds and diseases. 

    “We welcome the reports’ recognition that a lack of timely access to, or disruptions in supply of critical inputs poses a significant threat to Australia’s agricultural capabilities and food security. Maintaining, strengthening, and de-risking supply chains while remaining internationally competitive and incentivising diversification is needed. This is something that CropLife members actively and continually do and look forward to governments assisting that work.  

    “Innovations like modern pesticides and crop biotechnology not only increase the yields on available farming land, but they also reduce food loss and waste and produce more nutritious crops with resilience to pests, disease and climate change – all of which are major threats to food security reinforced by today’s report.  

    “The report acknowledges that there is no one silver bullet to these complex issues, requiring a range of structural, regulatory and social changes in our approach to food production.  

    Mr Cossey concluded, “CropLife welcomes sound policy and regulation that looks beyond ideological fads that profoundly affect food system resilience and instead supports science based sustainable farming intensification. Innovations in agricultural practices and technologies will continue to be crucial tools in sustainable food production as they have been for centuries.”