As SPC Ardmona’s decision to no longer purchase fruit from growers in Victoria’s Goulburn Valley comes into effect today, pressure is mounting for the federal government to offer farmers restructure packages.
60 orchardists from the region who will no longer receive income from SPC Armdona say that they need more than low interest loans offered by the government.
The former contractors have requested a restructure package inclusive of exit grants and funds for the removal of trees according to ABC Rural.
Growers fear that failure to deliver such a package would make it impossible to maintain orchard hygiene, resulting in the attraction of pests and diseases to remaining viable growers.
John Wilson, general manager of Fruit Growers Victoria has urged the government to pull through with financial assistance immediately as the farmers no longer have cash flow.
“They’re subject to an economic earthquake. Some of them are left standing, some of them aren’t going to be left standing,” he said.
SPC Ardomda made an urgent request to the federal government asking for special protection safeguards including emergency tax on imports, a measure which is permissible under World Trade Organisation rules.
The rules allow a government to intervene when a domestic industry is under threat by a rise in imports.