In a Tough Fight, Growers Push for Better Fruit and Vegetable Prices
Apparently Australian growers have been feeling the same financial pinch that American growers are feeling. After years of their own costs going up without a corresponding increase in crop prices, Aussie farmers are fighting back. Banding together, they’re demanding better deals from the country’s top grocery chains.
Labor laws that increase minimum wage and make farm workers eligible for overtime pay spurred growers to take action, a local Australian paper reports.
A sharp increase in transportation costs had already been pinching wallets, so the new labor costs threatened to strip farms of any profit.
“If enough growers put pressure on Coles and Woolies, and stick to that new price, you’d hope they get the message,” Lockyer Valley Growers President Michael Sippel told the paper.
Grocery Chains Want to Lower Prices
Even as Australian growers are organizing to gain better prices, grocery chains across the world are reducing produce prices.
In the U.K., the grocery chains Aldi and Lidl are in a price war to offer less expensive fruit and vegetables.
The stores say they want the public to eat healthier diets, and so are offering cheaper produce.
The stores’ concern for public health is legitimate, although their solution of lower produce prices puts their suppliers’ future at risk.
Initiatives that help communities are in place. The desire for affordable fresh produce has spurred movements like Feeding America, which allow growers to donate produce that is excellent in every sense, save appearance at outlets in underserved communities.
In a promising move, Washington State has an initiative up for consideration that will bar any level of government, including local, from taxing grocery items.