Food diversity decline as farmers leave the land

How has your shopping at big supermarkets changed in the past 12 mths?

  • More shopping

    Votes: 1 25.0%
  • Less shopping

    Votes: 2 50.0%
  • About the same amount of shopping

    Votes: 1 25.0%

  • Total voters
    4
  • Poll closed .

Mark

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The ABC ran this story today about how Australian farmers are being encouraged to grow more food for an expanding Asian market.
Farmers struggle to survive as governments call for increased production

Governments are calling on farmers to increase production to feed Asia, but the farmers say they are not being paid enough to keep operating at all.
One farmer interviewed said the boxes to pack his vegetables in cost more than he received for the produce itself at market!

I'll say it again, if utilities, fuel, and other costs to business keep rising at the same pace over the next 10 years we're heading for a disaster in this country - many small farmers are already working for nothing and unless you're a huge producer or a multinational it's tough to survive.

The other point (in the heading) is how we're losing diversity because it's becoming to risky to grow fringe products as big producers muscle in and undercut with cheap imports and boring varieties good for market but not good for eating. Smaller farmers who used to produce different varieties don't have a market anymore as the supermarkets take over and independents go out of business.

I doubt this situation will improve and I predict it's going to get a whole lot worse before small holdings eventually make a comeback through online delivery co-ops selling gourmet fruit and veg. But this will be a long time off before it seriously competes with the big supermarkets.

For now, backyard growing is the best way to go for cheaper, healthier, and diverse produce with the odd trip to the Sunday markets, or farmers stall to help out the little guy.

Here's the link to the video:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-09-17/farmers-struggle-to-survive-as-governments-call/4961950
 
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stevo

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Interesting story. ABC have some good stories, on the radio aswell, i occassionally catch a radio talk back with farmes.

In the video they say the big supermarkets deal direct with farmers and they say those farmers have more security, but all the stories i've heard before is that the supermarkets screw the farmers down on price, so they may have a contract and more security but that doesn't mean they're making any money, while the big supermarkets are the ones making all the profit. Again, share holders are more important than customers? that's arse about.
 

Mark

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steve h

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The ABC ran this story today about how Australian farmers are being encouraged to grow more food for an expanding Asian market.


One farmer interviewed said the boxes to pack his vegetables in cost more than he received for the produce itself at market!

I'll say it again, if utilities, fuel, and other costs to business keep rising at the same pace over the next 10 years we're heading for a disaster in this country - many small farmers are already working for nothing and unless you're a huge producer or a multinational it's tough to survive.

The other point (in the heading) is how we're losing diversity because it's becoming to risky to grow fringe products as big producers muscle in and undercut with cheap imports and boring varieties good for market but not good for eating. Smaller farmers who used to produce different varieties don't have a market anymore as the supermarkets take over and independents go out of business.

I doubt this situation will improve and I predict it's going to get a whole lot worse before small holdings eventually make a comeback through online delivery co-ops selling gourmet fruit and veg. But this will be a long time off before it seriously competes with the big supermarkets.

For now, backyard growing is the best way to go for cheaper, healthier, and diverse produce with the odd trip to the Sunday markets, or farmers stall to help out the little guy.

Here's the link to the video:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-09-17/farmers-struggle-to-survive-as-governments-call/4961950
I am on the road most of the day and always try to get my fruit and veggies at property stalls, the rest I get at the Cab markets, today on Kilcoy Esk road I got 10 grapefruit for a dollar, you have to pick your own but I know it fresh, and helping the little guy
 

Mark

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I am on the road most of the day and always try to get my fruit and veggies at property stalls, the rest I get at the Cab markets, today on Kilcoy Esk road I got 10 grapefruit for a dollar, you have to pick your own but I know it fresh, and helping the little guy
10 grapefruit for a dollar - that's a bargain! My grapefruit have finished (now flowering). That Kilcoy Esk road has several stalls along it - great way to buy fresh produce.
 

stevo

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I would say this is an attempt to head Off any small grocery uprising against Woolworths I don't believe it's out of good spirit for local growers- that's just my cynical side coming out :)
yeah Mark, here's a quote from that story...

The move is also considered to be an effort to up the ante against smaller, community-owned supermarkets.
 

Mark

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That was a good find Stevo. Did someone send it to you or did you dig it up?

If people had any doubt about how a supermarket duopoly is bad then they should watch that video!
 

Mark

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I've been hating the supermarkets for years now particularly when it comes to fresh food but lately I've been looking at alternate retail options for packaged food and other goods as well. Woolworths is especially bad for deliberately using monopolising tactics for what I call "entrapment of customers" with rewards schemes and discounts on select products only if you're a "member" etc. I'm fed up up with them too.
 

Steve

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Good little video Stevo you posted on 20 Sep.
Love the little girl coming in at the last moment saying '..It'll be alright...'

Fully agree with everything being said here.
Unfortunately everything runs on the economy (money driven) and that's why these decisions are made to cut out smaller farmers and set up contracts.
Since leaving the Army and being exposed to the big wide world I've had my eyes opened so much to the world or corporate greed.
And it's sad the way the world now works. I was so sheltered and didn't realise what makes the world tick.

I see it so often in my line of work where pressure comes down from the board to management to make more and more profit for the shareholders. The managers get bigger rewards for making the profits, so they have to come up with cost cutting every day, or they get cut! Moral behaviour goes out the door and so called 'tough' decisions are made in order to make more money. Rarely do I hear 'lets find a better way of doing this job so the customer gets a better product', its always so the company can make more money.
But at the same time, most of our lives are driven in some way by the economy and we ourselves benefit from strong growth. For example, our superannuation funds are normally just shares in a company or 10. So our lives will be better in retirement if 'Coles' or 'Woolies' makes more money. What a sad circle we are stuck on.

I hope you are right Mark that the circle will turn the full circle back to small-holdings making a come back, but I just cant see it happening anytime soon. The gap between rich and poor is widening and convenience is king as we get lazier and lazier. The poor will always go to the cheapest and easiest and supermarkets have that pinned. I just dont know....

I know i might have got off the subject of small farmers being cut out but I think it's all related.
 
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belveder

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We have boycotted Coles & Woolies for a couple years now, we do our shopping at Foodland and fruit & veg & meat is done at country market stores, luckily they are only 15 minutes from us
 
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Mark

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I've done a bit of shopping for generics at our local IGA lately (we grow most of our own fruit and veg) and I'll go out of my way to pay more for fuel at an independent petrol station. I hate the fuel voucher thing and those rewards cards...
 
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Steve

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We have a new farmers market opening up soon pretty close to home so I'm hoping they will take some business away from the big supermarkets and I will get some better produce.
 
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