Many thanks to Mark O’Connor, Al Bartlett, and several others for sending me this article. Mark opens with a statement about the article. The sale of prime farmland to other countries is a phenomenon occurring worldwide, not just in Australia, so this article is symptomatic of a bigger phenomenon. See http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/australia-should-look-to-its-food-security-before-all-the-farm-is-sold-20101013-16jyw.html
“Doomsayers” are sometimes accused of clogging the upward flight of progress. A better case could be made out that it is the foolish “Don’t worry, it’ll be alright” optimists who threaten our future. In the article below, Paul Meyers, former editor of The Land, points out how Australia, through complacency, has allowed its food security to be sold to foreign companies, often the state-owned companies of other countries.
This is a lose-lose situation. It destroys our own food security, and it encourages other (more overpopulated) countries to ignore their obligation to keep their own population in balance with their resources. Australia can currently produce food for about 3 times the number of people who live here, but future scarcity of nitrate and phosphate fertilizers, plus salination, acidification and erosion make it doubtful it can in the long run feed even its present population of 22.5 million. We could yet see a situation where, as in the Irish potato famine, food was exported from a starving country to fulfill foreign contracts.
Australia should look to its food security, before all the farm is sold
Australia is rapidly losing control of its food resources. The purchase of AWB – the former Australian Wheat Board – by the Canadian company Agrium, now approved by the Foreign Investment Review Board, is the tip of an iceberg where large segments of food processing and marketing have been sold offshore.
Production is now the last bastion of predominantly local ownership in the food chain. But with increasing interest by foreign companies – and governments, including China’s – quality farmland is also a target.
In short, Australians are in danger of becoming servants, not masters, of their own food resources.
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