Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education Website Archive

The content on this page and other DIISRTE archive pages is provided for historical reference only. The material in the DIISRTE archive has been superseded, or served a purpose at a particular time. It may contain references to activities or policies that have no current application.

Content in the archive may link to web pages that have moved or no longer exist, or may refer to other documents that are no longer available. Links to external websites do not constitute an endorsement or a recommendation of material on those sites or of any products or services offered by, from or through those sites.

Food and agriculture

A farmers crop

Janine Young

Humans need food to live. We spend much less time today obtaining and preparing food than our grandparents and we eat a much greater variety.

Over time we have learnt more about the human body and this has changed the kinds of foods we eat. For example, in 1959 Australians consumed about 117kg of vegetables per person. In 1989, that figure had risen to 162 kg per person. Each year, Australians eat an estimated 35.4 kg of beef per person.

Worldwide, it has been estimated that the demand for cereals will increase to 2,466 million tonnes by 2020, for meat 313 million tonnes and for roots and tubers 864 million tonnes.

As well as changing the foods we eat, more land and resources have been used to produce it. There is a desire to make each work harder and more efficiently, and mostly this is achieved through new agricultural methods.