By Claire Parfitt|ABC.Net.au
Food security relies on fair access to land, water, and seeds. Yet Australia is doing its darndest to sell off all three to foreign investors, risking the future of our food.
Those living on the land understand the emerging threat to Australia’s food security. The issue of increasing corporate control of Australia’s food has only recently broke into the mainstream, thanks to the “three amigos” using their new heightened profile.
MPs Rob Oakeshott and Bob Katter are urging changes to laws that allow foreign investment in Australian farmland. They know we can’t guarantee food security to a growing population if we sell off our fertile soil to overseas companies.
Foreign investors are also buying up big in Australia’s “blue gold”. A special report by the Sydney Morning Herald showed that Australian water is worth $30 billion, and one of the most commercialised markets in the world.
In a third attack on Australia’s food security, the most powerful chemical company in the world has made a stealthy grab for ownership of Australia’s most important seed – our wheat.
The world’s biggest owner of genetically engineered crops – Monsanto – recently bought a 20 per cent stake in one of Australia’s largest wheat breeding companies, Intergrain. Monsanto already has existing links to over three quarters of Australia’s wheat handling industry through companies like CBH, Cargill and Agrium. This recent strategic buyout signals a leap in the corporate domination of Australia’s food supply.
Alarm bells should be ringing, as we blindly entrust our food security to a handful of global companies that have a long history of profiteering from toxic chemicals such as PCBs and Agent Orange.
The bid to control Australian wheat
This year, Monsanto re-launched its global strategy to develop genetically engineered (GE) wheat. A foothold in the Australian wheat market is a key stepping stone in its global plans. Australia is one of the biggest wheat producers in the world, and unlike the EU, Russia and Canada, Monsanto has found our political system to be receptive to being a GE wheat-testing ground.
Just this year, the Australian Office of the Gene Technology Regulator approved over 1,300 lines of GE wheat for field trials across the nation. Australia’s most important staple food has been offered up in a giant genetic experiment.
There are three key reasons why genetically engineered wheat poses risks to Australia’s food security.