Horticulture

Costs a growing concern

SUNSHINE Coast farmers are feeling the pinch as cheaper overseas imports continue to flood the market.

The problem mirrors a trend nationally that has caused one-in-four vegetable growers pull out of the industry or go broke because they can't compete with the lower production costs - including wages - of overseas producers.

Media reports said the importation of processed fruit and vegetables was now worth $1.5 billion a year - a rise of almost 60% over seven years, according to Federal Government data.

The Brisbane Times reported interviews with major Australian food processors such as McCain and Simplot and supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths had revealed the nation's 10-year drought opened the door to a sharp rise in imported food.

Farmers were unable to meet their supply contracts, so companies started looking overseas.

What they found were reliable, quality, cut-price imports.

Now, with the drought and devastating floods over, the food processors have maintained those overseas relationships.

Diddillibah resident David Mathieson, who used to grow beans, beetroot, lettuce and zucchini, said he pulled out of farming about three years ago due to rising costs and competition.

He now sells mushrooms on behalf of another grower.

"Imports keep the prices down and then we can't afford to produce," Mr Mathieson said.

Rhonda Hammer, a former sales agent for several organic Sunshine Coast farms, said the problem had impacted a number of farmers she knew.

As a result, she is also no longer involved in the industry.

She said the consumer also needed to accept part of the blame.

"People just want to pay nothing for food," Mrs Hammer said.

"People will line up to pay $3 for coffee, yet they quibble over $2.50 for a kilogram of zucchini."

She also noted that complaints it was too expensive to feed families with fresh fruit and vegetables were unfounded, as it was still much better value, and healthier, than processed food and fast food.

Mrs Hammer encouraged people to visit local markets to purchase good food at reasonable prices, and also enjoy the social aspect of speaking with other residents and directly with farmers.

Topics:  agriculture australian government farmers imports



How to survive a bushfire in your car

IT SOUNDS like a nightmare, but it can happen.

Eight reasons to join the RFS

SPREAD across 93% of Queensland, the Rural Fire Service has about 36,000 volunteers. And you could be one of them.

What if my insurer gives me grief?

CLAIMING your insurance cover after a natural disaster can go one of two ways. It can be a breeze, or like pulling teeth.

People power gets Ipswich-Rosewood line back up and running

FEEDBACK: Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk found out how important the railway line was to Rosewood residents on a recent visit.

Premier intervenes to end a month of pain for commuters

Vote for the best chips in Ipswich

Stephanie Sewell and Cheryl Pfeffer from The Chambers Cafe

Its the $64,000 question that needs to be answered

VIDEO: Mum's panic to save daughter trapped under car

THEIR STORY: Delwynn Meloury and her daughter Katie - Annette Korczak were involved in a car crash in Raceview and are asking that drivers be careful over the Christmas break.

Ipswich family want their story to remind others about road safety

Local Partners

Justin Timberlake stuns students with secret class

Justin Timberlake stunned high school students in Sydney

Carrie Fisher says Ford will be bugged by affair confession

Carrie Fisher is sure Harrison Ford is annoyed at her

Dakota Fanning rekindles romance with childhood sweetheart

Dakota Fanning rekindles romance with ex

Jennifer Lawrence apologises to the people of Hawaii

Jennifer Lawrence sorry for 'offensive' story

Cruz Beckham's single a 'one-off'

He is not planning to launch a full-time music career yet.

Louis Tomlinson's mother dies aged 42

Louis Tomlinson's mother has died.

Essential to get new Maroochydore CBD fundamentals right

LOOKING AHEAD: The central business district at Maroochydore is planned to be the heart of the Sunshine Coast.

SunCentral reports good progress on 53ha Sunshine Coast city heart

'Crucial' farm land eyed by defence department

Lawson Geddes moving the Brangus cattle to higher ground - which is the land the Defence Department is interested taking for the Shoalwater Bay expansion.

"You can't have one without the other.”

Former Shark Show for sale for $1.3 million

Vic Hislop at the old Shark Show.

TALK about a jaws-dropping real estate opportunity.

There's a whole lot of luxury in this home

The Endeavour Foundation's latest prize home in Mountain Creek.

WHEN it comes to desirable homes, it's hard to go past a prize home.

Ipswich City Properties asset portfolio retains its value

Ipswich City Council Administration Building, South Street, Ipswich. Photo: Claudia Baxter / The Queensland Times

New website launched by Ipswich City Council

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!