18 January 2023, Australia: At a time when Australia is experiencing wild weather, growers are being hit with crop losses, and rural communities are being cut off from major arterial highways, Bayer says science needs to be part of the solution to address food security, access and affordability of food.
Warren Inwood, Managing Director of the Crop Science division of Bayer in Australia and New Zealand, said that Australian growers have proven themselves to be at the forefront of innovation and resilience when responding to adverse weather and climate change. However, the increasing frequency of adverse weather events highlights the need for Australian policy makers to think differently about how food is grown, and that begins with science.
“By using science to help growers make decisions about how, when and where we grow our foods, we reduce the impact of adverse weather, thereby making food supply more consistent and more reliable. If we can protect our crops from the impacts of climate change, we can minimise fluctuations in cost at the supermarket and the growing cost of living,” he said.
Annually, Bayer invests approximately A$3 billion globally in research and development for agriculture across seeds and plant traits, chemical and biological crop protection, and digital farming. The Australian business has been working with growers and stakeholders across the ag sector to find ways that science can help build resilient crops against climate change, particularly at the end of a third consecutive La Niña weather event.
Bayer has made a submission to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Agriculture Inquiry into food security in Australia and has outlined key recommendations to the Albanese government.
Mr Inwood said that Bayer’s submission has highlighted the role that science has played in establishing Australian food security today, as well as its importance in our continued ability to feed ourselves and grow the value of Australian agriculture exports.
“Whilst Australia’s food producing system is more resilient than many other nations around the world, we face our own challenges and responsibilities in climate change, limited natural resources, energy and input costs, and long supply chains. Australian farmers are critical in supporting food security within our region; we export approximately 72 per cent of our agricultural produce,” he said.
Bayer’s submission to the Inquiry emphasised that future breakthroughs in innovation will be critical to meeting challenges of food security, and that Australian farmers need access to new technologies to increase productivity and meet demand.
“Securing food supply will not get any easier – there is no new land to open up to cultivation, water resources are under continued pressure, and new pests and diseases will threaten our biosecurity as a result of climate change and international trade.
“Innovation will pave the way forward, but we must ensure that Australian growers have access. We offer recommendations to both modernise and harmonise our local regulatory and policy settings in gene technology and biosecurity, which would allow Australian growers access to world-class innovation while protecting our unique natural resources.
“In terms of strengthening local supply chains for critical inputs, Bayer’s unique role in formulating breakthrough crop protection products at our Australian manufacturing site helps mitigate the impacts of global disruption, and investment in local skills could build industry resilience and help farmers get what they need from a trusted source,” he said.
Bayer’s full submission to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Agriculture Inquiry into food security in Australia is available on the Crop Science Australia website.
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