WA Food Security Plan

Food Security relates to a region's capacity to produce (or access) sufficient, nutritious produce to feed its population. With a growing population and changing climate, it's time for a plan.

WA Sustainable Food Supply Assessment

Progressing a Food Secure Future for Western Australia

Under a Commonwealth Government grant, Perth NRM has received funding (2019-23) to explore the challenges that impact both positively and negatively on our ability to pursue more sustainable agricultural supply chains in WA with the expected increase in State’s population of 44% by 2050.

At a global level, there is a growing recognition that “our prevailing food system is not sustainable” (Lancet 2019). UNESCO defines Sustainable Development as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

How to take part.

The Survey can be completed online or on your phone.

Take the Food Supply Chain Survey here

Western Australia’s net Agriculture position.

Within Western Australia, the performance of our agricultural land is driven by three primary factors (DAFWA, 2013):

  1. Climate,
  2. land characteristics; and
  3. land management.

An analysis of climate data over recent decades has demonstrated five key trends that are relevant to the sustainable and profitable management of our agricultural land:

  1. mean temperatures are rising
  2. annual rainfall is declining
  3. autumn and winter rainfall totals are declining
  4. spring and summer rainfall totals are increasing
  5. year-to-year climate variability may be more important than the longer-term trends.

The inherent nature of the land, especially soil type and landform, is a key factor in determining the present land condition and trends. Most soils and landscapes are vulnerable to some form of land degradation, and many are already in a state unsuitable for agriculture. Under current cropping regimes, soils with low pH buffering capacity are becoming more acidic. Others are more prone to wind erosion and compaction, while others have become too salty through rising water tables.

Decisions on land management are largely within the power and responsibility of the land managers. However, land managers must have the required knowledge and support to make the best land use and land management decisions.

Food Consumption trends have changed.

On the consumption side, our diets are changing. With increasing personal disposable income, consumers are eating more meat, dairy products, fats and oils, and more highly processed convenience food.

This food is generally energy dense, high in saturated fats, sugar and salt, but very low in dietary fibre, nutrients and minerals (Lancet 2019). Hence, while most consumers have broader access to a greater variety of food, too many consumers are making food choices that are not consistent with good nutrition, health and wellbeing.

Furthermore, with the increasing concentration and aggregation of the food industry, our food chains are becoming longer. As the global trade in food products increases, while consumers may have access to a greater quantity and diversity of food, consumers are also exposed to greater risk of a food safety
breakdown and a reduction in the resilience of our food system to price shocks, breakdowns in transportation and climate variability.

Your input into Decision Making for our Food Future is vital.

To encourage and support the development of a cohesive overarching multi-agency assessment that informs policy and supports strategic long-term investment in sustainable food systems, through your industry association(s) (where applicable), we invite you to participate and have your say in this electronic survey.

Acknowledging that your time is important, the project will pay $75 to your nominated industry association for every completed survey.

Further information

Should you have queries, please email us at: [email protected]


About the WA Food Security Plan

For decades, Western Australian farmers have been facing changing conditions; hotter/dryer summers, increased salinity, soil that is becoming increasingly dependent on chemical inputs, with reduced capacity to hold moisture… the list goes on and on.

However, despite these challenges and increased financial pressures for farmers, food production has been sufficient for our relatively small population so far.

With increased volatility in growing conditions, and some models predicting that our local population will almost double by 2050, it is becoming increasingly evident that we need to start thinking strategically about how we can make our food systems more resilient.

At present, Western Australia doesn’t have a food security plan, or a reasonable understanding of how our farmers will manage the productivity constraints they are facing, in order to feed twice as many West Australians over the next three-to-four decades.

With funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program, Perth NRM is working to develop a food security plan for WA.

This strategic approach is about Western Australians taking ownership of our looming food security challenges, through a very West Australian lens.

This view recognises that throughout the 60,000 years prior to European settlement we did have sustainable food systems in place, and that the Noongar people play a pivotal role in identifying the pathways we need to take, to re-claim sustainability in our food systems.

The Food Security Plan project will be conducted in three stages.

This project is supported by Perth NRM, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

Partners

We acknowledge and appreciate the support of all our partners, supporters, funding bodies and sponsors.

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