Article by: Hari Yellina
Potato growers in important growing areas claim that unless shops raise the shelf price of their produce by 20 cents per kilo, they will be forced to leave the business. Farmers in all industries are finding it difficult to absorb production price rises of 50% or more caused by global issues like the conflict in the Ukraine and exponential increases in fuel, fertiliser, and on-farm maintenance expenses. Because potato growers are typically bound by a price they agreed upon with processors before harvest, their returns are not affected by rising demand or check-out pricing for their produce. They are urging supermarket and wholesale purchasers to consider an urgent pricing review as a result of the current circumstances.
In order to get support from the general public and pressure supermarkets to raise the price of potatoes by 20 cents per kilo to cover rising production expenses, potato producers in the Busselton region of Western Australia have started a public awareness campaign. Keith Taylor, a third-generation grower, deemed the push crucial. We are all well aware that customers are already facing price increases on necessities, but Mr. Taylor indicated that the current state of affairs was no longer sustainable. “Our production expenses have already increased by 17% since October, and some of those costs are increasing on a weekly basis – they don’t appear to be coming down. “It is merely necessary.
If we don’t make our voices known, some growers will inevitably go. We have producers on the edge of leaving. Tyson Cattle, national public affairs manager for AusVeg, said data showed fresh vegetable prices had increased by more than 7% over the previous two years, while production costs had increased by 35 to 45 percent during about the same, if not shorter, time span. In order to “find a balance” between preserving supply and ensuring fair returns for growers, Mr. Cattle said talks with wholesale and supermarket customers were in progress. Growers of fresh vegetables have a history of being price takers, according to Mr. Cattle.
“Everyone is aware of the difficulties that are present, but we need to find a middle ground in terms of what is a decent price for the customer, keeping that demand while also ensuring that growers receive a fair price,” the author says. Several of the biggest supermarket buyers and processors in Australia were approached by Landline. In the last six months, Woolworths held “collaborative dialogues regarding our price with our regular suppliers, taking into account cost constraints created by inflation,” a spokeswoman for the company told reporters. They added, “We’ll continue to work closely with our suppliers to understand market variances and jointly address industry-wide difficulties.