Coronavirus crisis: ABARES assures Australia will not run out of food

Zach RelphThe West Australian
ABARES released its latest report this morning.
Camera IconABARES released its latest report this morning. Credit: Tom Zaunmayr

A new report has quelled consumers’ “understandable, but misplaced” food shortage concerns, declaring Australian farmers will keep the nation fed during the coronavirus crisis.

Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences’ latest report, released this morning, found Australia “does not have a food security problem” despite COVID-19 concerns.

Supermarket shelves were stripped bare across the nation amid heightened panic buying, as many consumers feared the country would run out of meat, fruit, vegetables, eggs and milk.

ABARES executive director Steve Hatfield-Dodds said the temporary food shortages were caused by an unexpected surge in demand.

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He assured consumers that Australia does not have food security issues.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has taken Australia and the world by surprise,” Dr Hatfield-Dodds said.

“Coming after severe drought conditions in eastern Australia, concerns have been raised about Australian food security. These concerns are understandable, but misplaced.

“Australia does not have a food security problem, with Australia exporting about 70 per cent of agricultural production.

“Australia produces substantially more food than it consumes, even in drought years.”

ABARES reported Australia imports about 11 per cent of the country’s food by value.

More in next Thursday’s Countryman.

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