The COVID-19 pandemic has taken Australia and the world by surprise. Coming after severe drought conditions in eastern Australia, concerns have been raised about Australian food security. These concerns are understandable, but misplaced.
Despite temporary shortages of some food items in supermarkets caused by an unexpected surge in demand, Australia does not have a food security problem.
Australia imports just over 10% of domestically consumed food and beverages, to meet consumer preferences for taste and variety. It is unlikely – but possible – that COVID-19 could disrupt these supply chains temporarily, resulting in inconvenience for some consumers. This would not threaten the food security of most Australians.
Australian agricultural producers rely on global supply chains and imported inputs. Shortages or disruptions to these inputs could impact on productivity and profitability, and it will be important for business and government to actively monitor and manage emerging risks.