Vege growers furious at Woolworths


Vegetable growers are furious at Woolworths’ expectation to cough up hundreds of thousands of dollars for its Jamie Oliver campaign.

That sounds familiar, but its producers on the other side of the Tasman whose ire is raised this time.

AUSVEG is urgently calling on the ACCC to undertake immediate action to investigate the behaviour of Woolworths who are seeking enormous contributions from Australia’s horticulturalists to pay for their much touted Jamie Oliver campaign.

Woolworths are demanding hundreds of thousands of dollars from individual growers around Australia to fund their new campaign in the form of a massive new 40c per crate charge on top of the 2.5 – 5 per cent fee growers are already required to pay Woolworths for them to market and promote their produce. 

AUSVEG is the leading horticultural body representing Australia’s 9,000 vegetable and potato growers.

Growers around the country are being given no undertaking from Woolworths on what return they will see from the additional funds they are being asked to provide to fund the promotion. . .

Woolworths’ CE was guest speaker at a dinner we attended in Melbourne last year.

He was selling the company message of how they wanted to deal direct with growers and do away with the people in the middle.

There’s no benefit in cutting out costs in the supply chain if new costs are going to be imposed on growers with no guarantee of a dividend from the extra spent.


First they came for the apples


Australian apple growers spent years trying to keep New Zealand apples out of their country on biosecurity grounds.

Now their potato growers are following their example:

AusVeg, the national industry body for vegetable growers,  says it’s “dismayed” the federal government has so far failed to block New  Zealand potato imports that puts $A1.5 billion ($NZ1.9b) of production at risk  from tomato-potato psyllid, “a destructive insect wreaking havoc in New  Zealand”.

“The processing sector in New Zealand has stated recently  that potato production in the North Island is on a knife’s edge as a result of  this pest,” AusVeg spokesman William Churchill said in a statement.

“Why are we willing to roll the dice and play games with our  primary industries and food manufacturing sector?”

Who can blame them?

Growers here would try the same tactic if they were worried about imports, whether they were motivated by biosecurity concerns or fear of competition.

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