Looming food crisis showing on our shelves

Monday, April 4, 2011
By Paul Martin

Harriet Alexander
TheAge.co.au
April 3, 2011

FOOD security will be the greatest challenge to civilisation this century, with shortages leading to higher prices, political instability and mass migration, warn scientists, farmers and academics.

A policy summit in Melbourne this week will be told that that while Australian farms are capable of feeding the nation until it more than doubles in population, agricultural productivity is in decline and the effects of a looming food crisis overseas are already being felt in rising grocery costs.

The National Sustainable Food Summit will explore ways to boost productivity in the changing environment, including subsidising farmers to employ environmentally sound practices, turning hobby farms into working properties, and buying up farming land in Mozambique.

Advertisement: Story continues below Sharp rises in food prices in 2008 and 2010 demonstrated that supplies were no longer keeping up with demand, said Julian Cribb, author of The Coming Famine, who will address the summit on food challenges.

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