Aussies are being told to expect a steep price hike for our food and vegetables, after the bushfires wiped out crops around the country.
Queenslanders are set to cop some of the worst price hikes – due to closed motorways as well.
Agricultural Minister Bridget McKenzie says both farmers and processors around the country have been severely impacted around Australia, and it’s bound to affect the consumer.
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“Farmers are doing it tough – we have to support structures there to assist them.
“In terms of prices for food – you might have seen reporting that supermarkets are letting the Australian public know that they’ll have to pay more for their red meat – yes you will.
“That they’ll have to pay more for their fruit and vegetables because of the bushfires and the drought – yes you will.
“Well, then the supermarkets need to let the Australian public know – that because of the bushfires and the drought – you will have to pay more for your milk,” Senator McKenzie said.
Senator McKenzie says it’s time for the supermarkets and consumers to do the right thing as well.
“Now processors are doing the right thing by fires – by actually paying milk cheques, when in many cases they’re not getting the product, and therefore that’s having an impact on their business.
“Well, it’s up to the supermarkets to not just talk about being the ‘fresh food people’ – but get on with supporting in a very real and tangible way.
“Because farmers don’t grow food for free – it’s a business. I know we like to get all a bit romantic about it – but the reality is – it is a business.
“They need to make a living, and that means we need to pay the cost of producing the food.
“Through tough times that we’re experiencing now – drought and bushfires – are severely impacting the input costs of our farmers and now our processors in the supply chain.
“So the other end of the supply chain needs to stump up,” Senator McKenzie said.
It’s unclear exactly how high prices will increase on different products just yet, though the Chief Executive of AUSVEG James Whiteside told the ABC that it could be as much as 50 percent for some products.
“A lot of those products where growers in Queensland have been sourcing out of southern states, which they typically do at this time of year, have been severely impacted,” he told the ABC.
“I wouldn’t be surprised to see prices moving up between 20 per cent and 50 per cent.
“Those sort of larger increases are unlikely to be sustainable, but consumers will see a range of higher prices across pretty well everything.
“Our message to the supermarkets is to try, wherever possible, to shield consumers from higher costs they might be paying, but also to consumers — if you want to help growers, be prepared to pay a slightly higher price because many growers are going through a pretty tough time at the moment,” he told the ABC.