Like American President John F Kennedy once said, "The farmer is the only man in our economy who buys everything at retail and sells everything at wholesale.” And unfortunately, this statement still holds true today.
In a day and age where the world’s population is exploding, and food security is one of the world’s biggest urgencies, it baffles me why our farmers and agricultural industry aren’t one of our nation's highest priorities. I guess my question is, why aren’t farmers treated more fairly for the work and significant contribution they make to not just the economy, but the environment and to put bluntly, the survival of us as a human race?
Farming requires a lot of inputs. Even in a good year, with a high amount of sales, most farm profits are still only modest. Farmers are at the mercy of two things: mother nature and the middle man. Mother Nature we can’t change, but something needs to be done about the middle man. One example, price wars between the large supermarkets are having direct and significant financial effect on the growers. Driving down prices = less profits for farmers. Also, with free trade agreements established with China and other countries, the percentage of imported produce now increasing and our farming industry is beginning to suffer due to many consumers opting for the cheaper, lower quality, imported product instead. If trends like this continue, the Australian agricultural industry merely won’t survive.
It’s a scary thought to think about where we would be without our Australian farmers. Imagine this; our only source of fresh produce and food coming from an imported source, most likely countries like China, where freshness, quality and not to mention our health will be severely compromised. I don’t know about you, but that’s certainly not a future I want to come to fruition.
Don’t get me wrong, farmers don’t do what they do to get rich. They endure the cold nights, the long summer days, and quite literally put their blood, sweat and tears into their business, because they truly love what they do, and have a deep desire to be successful at it. I guess that’s why it frustrates me so much. To see such a vital industry, that’s full of such passionate and hard-working Australians not being given a fair go.
So, hopefully you’re now wondering how you can help, well to answer that...I believe there is power in numbers, so the more people there are to stand up, support and be a voice for the industry that feeds us, the better off it will be. And if you happen to not take anything else out of reading this, please just remember to take that extra time to read the label, pay that extra few dollars, and always BUY AUSTRALIAN produce. Support the farmers that support you!