FOOD security has been raised by farmers as a key issue in the New South Wales State Election on 23 March this year.
NSW Farmers president Xavier Martin said securing the state’s future food production should be a critical focus for voters.
The peak agricultural body launched its 2023 state election platform next to Parliament House today, outlining five key pillars.
NSW Farmers said the five key areas where collaboration between industry and the NSW Government was essential to secure the future of farming and food in the state included road and rail infrastructure, biosecurity, farm productivity, workforce and land use pressures.
Mr Martin said strong supply chains and resilient food and fibre production to keep food prices affordable would be critical for politicians, with polling revealing more than two-thirds of NSW voters saw the cost of food and groceries as their biggest concern.
“Today’s latest poll shows the majority of people are concerned by rising food prices,” Mr Martin said.
“Disjointed food supply chains or infrastructure and continued removal of productive water from farms is contributing to the rising cost of fresh food.
“This is what we’re focused on when we’re talking about a stronger future for farmers and for our state, making sure we can grow those healthy plants and healthy animals that people need and get them onto people’s plates in a timely and affordable way,” he said.
“Each of our five key pillars tackles a key issue facing farmers, and we’ve outlined some common-sense ideas about how to address them.”
Mr Martin said the agriculture sector needed policies to support growth and resilience, and strategic investment from government to meet the needs of businesses and communities.
“Sustainable and secure food and fibre production needs to be a priority for decision-makers.
“It’s not just flooding and COVID that impact food production and supply, it’s things like ageing infrastructure, water buybacks, the threat of various pest and disease incursions, and chronic worker shortages that all stand in the way of productivity,” he said.
“Meanwhile, the shift towards renewable energy generation and the drive to build more housing will require a balancing act to make sure we don’t sacrifice productive farm land in the pursuit of social and environmental outcomes, because once you build on that land it’s lost forever.”
NSW Farmers said about 135,000 people were employed in the state’s food and agribusiness sector, contributing $23.1 billion to the economy in the last year alone. And with 8.265 million consumers of food and fibre in NSW.
Visit nswfarmers.org.au/stateelection to view the NSW Farmers election platform.
Source – NSW Farmers.