Farmers hard done by in food supply chain: Burke

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 10th August 2009

Federal Agriculture Minister, Tony Burke, has weighed into the supply chain debate, suggesting that farmers fail to receive a fair deal when it comes to the prices they receive.

Speaking on Adelaide’s 5AA radio station, Mr Burke said that the findings of the ACCC Grocery Price Inquiry did not match with his perceptions of the industry.

The ACCC found the current state of the marketplace was “workably competitive” and claimed that there was a lack of evidence that farmers were receiving an unfair deal.

“You will not find me saying that everybody along the chain at the moment’s getting a fair deal, not for a minute. Not for a minute,” he stated. “That’s why we originally kicked off with that ACCC inquiry. I’ve got to say, and I’ve said this publicly before, when it came back with its recommendations it certainly seemed to not match what I was getting anecdotally out on the ground.”

Many of the complaints directed toward Mr Burke have come from the horticulture sector and the queries have only picked up since last year’s inquiry.

“I don’t tend to get the same sorts of complaints in the red meat industry, for example, but in horticulture that’s where I get the biggest complaints about the supply chain,” he noted.

Mr Burke said one of the key findings of the ACCC report was the redoing of the Horticulture Code of Conduct, the framework of he expects to receive in the next couple of weeks.