Food and agriculture

A farmers crop

Janine Young

Humans need food to live. Today, we spend much less time obtaining and preparing food than our grandparents did, 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 117 kg of vegetables per person. In 1989, that figure had risen to 162 kg. Each year, Australians eat an estimated 35 kg of beef per person.

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

As well as changing the food we eat, more land and resources have been used to produce it. Producers want food crops and animal varieties to work harder and more efficiently. Mostly, this is achieved through new agricultural methods.