Farmers question The National Food Plan

With a taskforce touring the country to gain feedback on the plan, many farmers are voicing concerns over the power of the supermarket duopoly as well as over regulation and skill shortages, the ABC reported.

As Food Magazine reported in the July, the National Food Plan aims to ensure that Australia has “a sustainable, globally competitive, resilient food supply that supports access to nutritious and affordable food.”

At the time, Federal Minister for Agriculture, Tony Burke, said the plan aimed to look at all aspects of food production.

“This comprehensive plan will look at food quality, domestic and international food security, how to streamline business regulations, and ensuring there are appropriate economic, taxation, labour market and education policy settings for a strong food production system.”

However, with farmers still feeling the pinch from the supermarkets, and with the slow-moving pace of any real change, many are questioning the effectiveness of the plan.

Alex Arbuthnott, chair of Agribusiness in Gippsland, says that although the plan is a little late it is a step in the right direction but warns due to supermarket discounting wars, poor seasonal conditions and high export prices Gippsland farmers are doing it tough.

"The Australian farmer at the moment is experiencing very, very difficult conditions and particularly with the price for milk," he said.

Beef farmer Geoff Stephens spoke out about the way in which famers are being bullied by the supermarkets and said it’s a matter of ‘fall into line or fall out.’

"I hope that the Government realises that farmers have to make a profit, we can't go on being below cost production agents in the chain," he said.

To learn more about The National Food plan, click here.

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