Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce has described the idea that Australia could be an “Asian food bowl” as “ridiculous”. It was a clear admission that all the talk of a food bowl from senior Government ministers has been just that, talk.
But I was quick to offer Barnaby my support. How could I not? I’ve been saying the same thing for 12 months!
As I told The Australian-sponsored Global Food Forum in March, “Asian food bowl” is a phrase I don’t use because it suggests Australia can be a primary and substantial provider of food to our Asian neighbours. This can never be.
Australia currently produces enough food to feed a little more than 60 million people – about 23 million Australians and some 40 million others around the world. If we were to triple our food output by volume, we could feed around 160 million. Yet there are more than 4 billion people living in Asia alone.