Opening up a healthier food economy.
Our food economy is sick. It is unfair. Power and value is inequitably distributed. And the truth of all of this remains largely hidden. The farmer, the very source of our food economy, has lost out to the gain of middlemen and retailers. Consumers don’t understand where their food comes from or whether they are getting the quality and value that they deserve. This is true in Australia, let alone for the vast majority of those we sell to, our international customers.
This is at a time when Australia should be laying the foundations for a food economy that can achieve even higher value in the minds and stomachs of the growing Asian middle class consumer. We must re-balance the power within our food system and elevate its importance in our culture.
We want to help Australian food to deliver on its promises in a way that survives beyond our borders and as close to the end consumption of the product as possible. Whatever the promise of the food is, be it organic Angus beef from the Hunter Valley, or native jarrah honey from Albany - we want to help Australian food producers deliver on and capture the value of its promise.
Some of the meat seized dated back to the 1970s and had been thawed and refrozen over and over before reaching consumers. Australia has been relatively immune from the contaminated food scandals that plague the industry globally. But with the journey from paddock to plate longer than ever, our reputation as a clean, sustainable and safe food producer now mostly sits outside our control. We must take steps to fortify the integrity of our most important industries.
When we compare the annual cost of food fraud to the $45 billion value of Australian agriculture and food exports the scale of the danger becomes apparent.
An average loss of 294 Australian farmers a month, over the three decades to 2011 doesn’t sit well with estimates from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization that by 2050 food production worldwide must increase by 70 per cent for the global population to have sufficient access to safe, nutritious food. We must attract, retain, empower and better resource our people, our future farmers in ways that further this vital industry. Source: Trends in Australian Agriculture, Productivity Commission (2005).
It’s estimated that there are around 40,000 ‘daigou’ in Australia making anywhere from $40,000 to $100,000 every year buying vitamins and dairy products and shipping them to China on the grey market. Daigou sellers have created an industry around giving certainty to the supply chain - in short, they are selling trust.