Changes in Australian agriculture and land use: implications for future food security

Joanne Millar, Jane Roots

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)
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Food security debates have only recently emerged in Australia with the prediction that Australia's population could reach 35 million by 2050. In a country with limited productive arable land and a heavy reliance on inputs, the question is being asked 'can and should Australia continue to export food and feed itself in the face of changes in the use and ownership of agricultural land, tighter water regulations, increasing input costs, declining numbers of farmers and rural labour, environmental degradation and a changing climate?' This paper examines the relative importance of these changes, using current information and future scenarios.A brief introduction to Australian agriculture describes the current production and trade environment. Land use, social and environmental changes are then analysed in terms of their impact on the role and future productive capacity of Australian agriculture. We conclude that despite recent declines in farmer populations, available agricultural land and water restrictions, Australia will continue to produce enough food for domestic and export markets at least in the short term with import substitutions as required. Longer term food security for Australia and its trade partners is likely to be threatened by climate impacts (eg droughts, flooding, cyclones), lack of planning controls over urban development and mining on productive land, shortages of skilled labour and underinvestment in agricultural research and development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-39
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Agricultural Sustainability
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012


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