Local produce not always cheaper. . .

June 29, 2011

Complaints about the price of milk here are based on the theory that locally produced goods should be cheaper.

A good example of how that isn’t necessarily so can be found across the Tasman.

A reader emailed me to say that bananas in Australia are selling for $A14 to  $A16 a kilo – and there is no GST on “fresh” food.

Summer floods damaged trees and crops in Queensland. The Farming Show’s Australian correspondent Chris Russell said the problem has been exacerbated by very cold temeratures in the state  and as no bananas are imported into Australia there isn’t an alternative to local produce.

My correspondent says even before the shortage bananas were selling for around $A4 a kilo in Melbourne.

The ones in the supermarket I frequent came from the Philippines and cost $2.99 a kilo, inclusive of GST. 

I presume the bio-security risk  is used to ban imports. But if we judge the Australians by the strong fight they put up against New Zealand apple imports then the ban on bananas from other countries could well be protecting domestic farmers from competition rather than protecting the crop from disease.

Either way, the consumer is paying very dearly.

Slipping on something more comfortable

March 7, 2010

Company makes undies out of bananas

It’s a good headline but it’s not exactly what the story says:

The new eco-friendly banana range of undies, made by AussieBum, incorporates 27 percent banana fibre, 64 percent cotton and 9 percent lycra.

They are reportedly lightweight, very absorbent, and don’t smell like bananas.

This could prompt a whole new angle on the slippping on a banana skin joke.

Banana campaign is bananas

April 21, 2009

An Australian wasn’t happy when she discovered a foreign banana in the breakfast Qantas served to her on a flight home from New Zealand.

Toni Rogers says she’s shocked the national carrier is serving bananas from the Philippines given the amount of media coverage the imports issue has had.. . . 

“It was also the fact that it was Qantas, if it was Air New Zealand I probably wouldn’t have given it a second thought,” Ms Rogers says. . .

“That’s probably what concerned me more than anything else, Qantas was serving Filipino bananas in preference to our local growers,” Ms Rogers says.

She was also worried about how the bananas are disposed of and the potential quarantine threat they may posse people get them through airprot quarantine systems.

The Australian banana industry says it’s comfortable with the checks and balances in place to ensure fresh fruit doesn’t breach border biosecurity.

It’s more concerned about why the national carrier isn’t serving Australian bananas on trans-Tasman flights.

CEO Tony Heidrich says given the publicity surrounding the Philippine banana imports, this could be potentially damaging to Qantas. . .

“I think any Australian would like to see our national carrier supporting Australian industries, just as Australians try and support Qantas on the routes they operate.”

If the banana industry isn’t concerned about biosecurity breaches the issue isn’t fear of pests and disseases it’s nationalism.

The national airline should carry the nation’s produce, right? Not necessarily, there are other factors to keep in mind including cost and the trade implications.

If Australian bananas are more expensive would passengers still want them to be supplied in preference to bananas, or any other fruit, from elsewhere? And if they want Australian bananas on Australian planes will they accept that airlines from other countries favour produce from their own producers rather than from Australia?

New Zealand and Australia have the strictest biosecurity border controls I’ve encountered and for very good reaons. We’re both surrounded by sea with no very close neighbours which should make it easier to keep out unwanted pests and diseases, and primary industry is very important to our economies.

But we both need to be very careful about pretending to play the biosecurity card when what were really doing is playing the protectionist one.

Buying local pulls the heartstrings, but it’s not necessarily best.

Hat Tip: Larvatus Prodeo   , go on click on it because something which starts with: Everyone knows that Kiwis constantly try to subvert our Australian way of life. They did it, for example by sending us Jo Bjelke-Petersen back in 1913 and then again with Russell Crowe. . . . is worth reading 🙂

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