Posts Tagged ‘Buy Australian’
This Christmas as you shop for your festive feast take the time to read the labels and support Australian farmers.
Consider it your gift to the country’s agricultural community.
Don’t buy Californian red onions, when Australian onions will do. Stay away from imported ham, seek out Australian-produced pork instead.
Ask your butcher – ‘Was this turkey bred in Australia?’
Offer your guests a fruit platter of tropical Australian fruit and a plate of roasted local veggies.
Eat what’s in season and try to source your food close to the place of origin. Imagine how much fresher your locally-grown vegetables will be than the veg that have been shipped in from overseas.
These are the simple ways you can support the country’s farming community.
If it’s a choice of cheap supermarket milk or the more expensive branded milk, consider spending a couple of dollars more, in the knowledge that your decision will support a viable and sustainable dairy industry.
According to the Australian Bureau of Agricultural Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES), the average Australian drank 104-litres of milk and ate 32kg of beef, 25kg of pork and ham and 9kg of lamb in the 2011-12 financial year.
Imagine if all of that food consumed had been grown and raised in Australia?
Australian agriculture – like many industries – is going through a time of change. Many large, and once-strong businesses, are finding themselves in financial trouble, the result of rising costs, a high Australian dollar and increased competition from foreign imports.
You’re probably wondering, ‘What’s that mean for me?’
Queensland pineapples are now available, but a large QLD grower says suppliers on the East Coast of Australia can’t compete with Thai imports.
Gavin Scurr of Pinata Farms says Thai imports are flooding into Western Australia to fill orders, previously supplied by Queensland producers.
He says Perth-based importers have identified the lucrative mining market and are importing containers of pineapples each week from Thailand to satisfy the requirements of mining companies.
“It used to be one container every now and then; Now it’s many containers each week,” says Scurr.
“It costs us $700/pallet to get pineapples to Perth but they can bring them in from Thailand for $80/pallet. Their cost of production is about one-third of ours and they ship straight into the mines. The miners don’t care where their fruit comes from.
“That’s 40 to 50 tonne of pineapples each week that’s not come from Australian growers.
“They’re only selling for a couple of dollars under the Australian pineapples so really the profits are being made by the importer, they are making massive margins because they’re paying Thai prices for the fruit.”
“It’s really something that’s popped up in the last six months.”
Mr Scurr says while Coles and Woolworths remained fiercely committed to supporting Australian growers and stocking local produce, growers will remain viable.
Do you buy Australian-grown produce when it’s available? Is price important to you?
Ever wondered just how much agriculture is worth to Australia? The farmers behind the Facebook page, Ask an Aussie Farmer, have compiled this great one-page guide, which outlines exactly what is at stake.
The reader reaction has been eye-opening. Some people absolutely get what’s at stake. Others think farmers should compete on a global playing field and if they can’t price-match with the cheap imports then they should get out of the game.
This argument is very short-sighted and doesn’t take into account how big an industry agriculture is in Australia and just how many jobs rely on its success. Nor does this argument take into account the fact that the global playing field isn’t really level. If it was truly global then Australian farmers would have access to the same terms and conditions that international farmers have … cheap finance, fuel and electricity … just for starters.
The question really should be – do you want Australia to continue to be a food-producing nation or are you happy for the bulk of our food to be imported in the years to come?
Clearly I am biased but I know where I sit. If you can feed yourself then surely that’s half the battle won?
Isn’t an industry that’s worth $48.7billion/year at the farm gate worth fighting for?
Over the weekend I read this column on The Punch arguing that a campaign to reject foreign imported food run by a small supermarket chain, Foodland, was ‘Hansonite nonsense’. Have a read of the article. Granted the delivery of the Foodland campaign was perhaps questionable, I do believe that the essence of the message is good.
Where possible I believe – and hope – customers try to support Australian-produced food. Believe me I spend many many hours at the supermarket observing the shopping habits of Australians. Do they go for the cheap no-name milk, or do they support the dairy farmers and load up with the more expensive branded stuff? Do they choose the Aussie-grown onions or the Californian imports?
The Punch article started me thinking … if those of us in the farming community don’t explain just what’s at stake then city people will remain blissfully unaware about the real cost of their cheap, imported food. After more than a decade of life with Mr Bean I still don’t understand the consumer’s absolute fixation about the price of their fruit and vege. These same people rock up to the trendy cafe and order a $4.50 Latte but moan about spending $3.99 on a tub of strawberries.
There’s something very back to front about our spending habits and the things we value. This afternoon I put pen to paper (well fingers to keyboard actually) and wrote a response to David Penberthy, the journalist who wrote the piece. I generally love David’s work and hope he will see the error of his ways!
Here’s what I wrote:
I was so happy to read that you had decided to try and make a 100 per cent Australian-grown bolognaise sauce.
So sorry to hear that it wasn’t possible.
Distraught to read that you couldn’t understand all the fuss about foreign imported foods.
Writing as a vegetable farmer’s wife, let me tell you what the fuss is.
Every day people like my husband wake up and go to work on the farm.
Farm life is a life like no other. There’s no 9 to 5 on the farm.
More like sunrise to whenever the job is done. It’s a high-risk game that contends with the weather and a wildly fluctuating market.
But this isn’t a call for sympathy … this is about highlighting why you and your city friends should be supportive of the people who grow your food.
Granted, the Fightback campaign unleashed by Foodland sounds like a dodgy marketing ploy, but the essence of their message is good.
Where possible Aussies should support Australian food producers.
Eating locally makes sense on so many levels.
A NUMBER of growers in our region will be impacted by Heinz’s decision to shut the Brisbane beetroot cannery and take the business overseas to New Zealand.
The cannery, by all accounts, is old, outdated and in desperate need of funds. But rather than spend the money foreign-owned Heinz – which bought the Australian-owned Golden Circle co-op a few years ago – has decided to cut costs and shut the plant at the end of the year. Not only do about 160 people who work in the factory lose their jobs, but so too do nine farmers who grow their beetroot, as well as their their many staff and suppliers.
Some of the growers have been supplying Golden Circle for more than 50 years and just months before the decision was announced they were encouraged by the company’s representatives to invest in new equipment to ensure they remained at the forefront of the industry. Anyone who works in farming knows nothing to do with the industry is cheap so the grower’s machinery investments were not insignificant.
Apart from the obvious problems raised by this decision (loss of more rural jobs), there’s a bigger issue at play – our ability to buy Australian-grown food. Next time you crack open a can of beans, pop a bag of frozen vegetables, or even choose some fresh onions from the shelf of your local supermarket, have a look at the country of origin.