Supermarkets match customer donations dollar-to-dollar to help farmers

Supermarkets in Australia continue to provide farmers with help during the drought, including Coles with its pledge to match customer donations dollar-for-dollar.

Coles’ promise to match customer donations will go for the entire month of August, in order to help farming communities doing it tough due to drought conditions.

The combined donations raised at checkouts and matched by Coles will be provided to the Country Women’s Association to support drought-affected families, to help cover household expenses such as school expenses and food, medical, electricity and water bills.

Coles managing director John Durkan said customers wanted to do more to support families affected by drought.

READ: Sheep and cattle slaughter increases to reduce stock numbers during drought

“For every donation no matter how big or small, our customers can be assured they will be making a difference to the rural communities experiencing hardship and distress,” said Durkan.

The matching donation  is in addition to $5 million already pledged in grants or interest-free loans from the Coles Nurture Fund for farmers who have a project which will help them to combat drought in the future.

Harris Farm Markets also announced it is matching donations dollar-to-dollar in August.

In a release, Tristan Harris, from Harris Farm Markets, said farmers deserved a fair grow and they needed people’s support in these trying times.

From the 2nd of August the supermarkets had donation boxes in all its shops collecting funds for rural aid, for four weeks.

Harris Farm Markets also had a cook-up at all stores in the first weekend of August, selling food for $5 with all proceeds helping provide hay and stock feed for drought-stricken farmers.

On the 11th of August, Woolworths donated all profits from sales in the fresh departments at its supermarkets to the Rural Aid Buy a Bale appeal.

It followed a $1.5 million donation from Woolworths, in July, aimed at supporting farmers impacted by the drought.

 

 

Dry weather in Australia significantly impacting crops

Australia has experienced one of the driest autumns since records began, more than 100 years ago, leading to poor crop growth.

It’s not unusual to experience dry conditions in early autumn, with a normal winter crop possible if a rain break arrives by mid-June.

But, continued dry conditions in July are contributing to one of the driest seasons on record for many crop regions.

Nufarm is concerned that the Australian crop protection market is down substantially as a result.

READ: Dry weather ahead cries out for ‘aggressive’ NSW dairy management

The extended dry weather conditions have impacted ANZ business, with the 2018 financial year EBIT contribution from ANZ now anticipated to be between $5million to $10m (LY$51.6m).

These seasonal conditions have also impacted the mix of products sold, with growers buying lower margin functional products over higher margin differentiated products.

The limited demand for crop protection products across Australia has led to increased competition and high inventory levels – resulting in significant margin pressure.

By the 20th of July, following feedback from Nufarm teams, it was determined that the market had reached a turning point.

It is now considered unlikely that a viable crop season will occur in many parts of the country and the expected demand for post emergent products will not eventuate.

Given poor demand in the 2018 financial year, there will be an overhand of inventory. Grower demand will depend on a return to normal summer conditions in the 2019 financial year, but the Australian Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting a dry spring.

Anticipated low levels of demand, coupled with the current over-supply, is expected to constrain sales and margin into 2019.

Despite the drought conditions, Nufarm remains confident it has retained market share in Australia, in line with the long term strategic objective.

Nufarm expects Net Working Capital for the group, at the 31st of July, to be $200m-$300m higher than last year.

This reflects the high inventories in the Australian business due to the difficult seasonal conditions and the higher receivables in the Northern Hemisphere countries resulting from the delayed seasons in those markets.

 

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