LOCAL produce has had its profile raised today as the industry fights to ensure that the recent flooding in key foodbowl regions does not lead to an unecessary hike in imported fruit and vegetables.
AUSVEG chief executive Richard Mulcahy today endorsed Assistant Treasurer Bill Shorten’s comments that no increase in the importation of vegetables was needed due to the ongoing floods in a number of States around Australia.
AUSVEG is the national peak industry body representing the interests of over 9,000 Australian vegetable and potato growers.
“Australia already imports too many vegetables as it is. There is no justification to further increase imports as a result of the floods,” Mr Mulcahy said.
“We need to keep the pressure on retailers at all levels not to take advantage of this situation and mislead consumers into thinking that there is a massive shortage in supply. I would encourage consumers to shop around to avoid being taken advantage of by those who might exploit the current situation,” he said.
“We are currently experiencing some pressures on supply, however, by no means is there a need to import more vegetables. Australian growers can still meet demand.”
“At the moment we are seeing price pressures in some salad lines but these will only be temporary.”
“We have seen price rises for some products such as pumpkin, sweet potato, ginger and garlic, but we are expecting that in 2-3 weeks time, as other areas of production come online, those prices will again stabilise.”
“Growers, retailers and wholesalers can work through situations like these to find solutions. Already Coles has made modifications to its quality assurance specifications as a result of the floods and there are other solutions also being worked through with growers.”
“In Queensland there is very little vegetable production at this time of year and whilst the floods and unseasonal humidity in the southern States have caused damage to crops, there are still other regions which are able to meet consumer demand.”
“Consumers need to remember that international suppliers do not have to adhere to the same strict regulations in terms of chemical usage on crops. Buying Australian will always be the freshest and safest option.”
“There are still problems with transport infrastructure and as a result one of the biggest problems currently is logistical, with trucks struggling to move freely around some parts of the country.”
“Queensland growers are currently doing everything they can to prepare for the winter growing season and we are confident that there will not be long term supply issues of vegetables,” said Mr Mulcahy.
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