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NFF to address ACCC Grocery Inquiry in Canberra today

8 April 2008

NATIONAL Farmers’ Federation (NFF) Vice-President Charles Burke will today present to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC’s) Grocery Pricing Inquiry between 1-5pm at Rydges Lakeside, London Circuit, in Canberra.

The NFF will assert that consumers – feeling the pinch of rising food bills – are entitled to know what is driving higher grocery prices. Likewise, Australian farmers are equally keen to know where the money is going.

“There is clear evidence of an ever-increasing disconnect between what farmers are paid at farm-gate and what consumers are charged at the check-out,” Mr Burke said. “In truth, farmers only ever receive a miniscule portion of what consumers pay – so what’s going on in the middle?

“The ACCC must use the powers of this Inquiry to fully examine the entire supply chain from farm-gate to check-out so we can all – consumers and farmers, alike – have confidence in the competitiveness of getting food from the paddock to dinner plate.

“As farmers, we are acutely aware – and will make the ACCC mindful – that the intent of this Inquiry is not simply to reduce retail prices. Farmers, as price-takers, must not be squeezed financially in producing fresh, high quality, environmentally-sustainable and value-for-money food.

“We expect the ACCC to examine transparency, competition and fairness along the complete supply chain to ensure farmers are not made the bunnies of any price reductions at the retail end. Any attempt to reduce costs at the expense of what farmers get paid misses the point of this Inquiry.

“Our farmers – in producing the safe, carbon-friendly food production, which accounts for 93% of produce on retail shelves – are entitled to a fair return on what they produce and how they produce it.

“We lead the world in agricultural innovation, creating and implementing cutting-edge technologies and new environmentally-sustainable farm systems. While Australian farmers have doubled their productivity over the past 14 years, they have done so while leading Australia in reducing primary industry carbon emissions by 40%.

“Consumers, in turn, should be aware that sometimes the costs involved in producing food – especially when we’re implementing consumer-driven demands such as carbon sensitive farm practices – ultimately, result in higher prices.

“This Inquiry needs to be a sober, thoughtful and robust examination of everything that contributes to higher food prices so that, at the end of the day, we can have ongoing confidence in the supply chain.”

[ENDS]

The NFF’s submission to the ACCC Grocery Inquiry is available at: Submissions to Government

Media Enquiries: Brett Heffernan on (02) 6273 3855 or 0408 448 250.

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