Whilst free trade is encouraged, we need to be mindful on the effects this may have in our ability to secure and provide for essential foodstuffs needed by our population. For example: cheap imports of citrus products may result in the decimation of our citrus farming industry. This would make us dependant on imports, and the costs in the future could rise with world shortages and changes in market conditions, such as the case of increased price of rice.
Because of our isolation, we are fortunate to be free of many pests or diseases affecting agriculture of other nations. We would be benefit to be mindful to avoid such pests and diseases through indiscriminate free trade. Keeping in mind that quality produce could also command a premium price when sold to other nations.
As individuals, we could take a lead from Michelle Obama and Queen Elizabeth and consider having our own vegetable gardens. This will assist us making ends meet during these tough economic times; and with drought, vegetables could become more expensive. Even a handful of silver beet plants could supply a family with green vegetables.
Increased vigilance and testing of imported foodstuffs would assist in assuring food is provided for the health of our population.
Picture source: http://www.apsnet.org/publications/imageresources/Pages/Volume87-7-3.aspx