Low prices on fruit and vegetables might seem good for consumers, but for Queensland fruit and vegetable growers the oversupply has only delivered pain. Queensland’s unseasonably warm winter has delivered crops ahead of schedule and in large quantities, often without enough demand to ensure prices are maintained.
Growers are all too familiar with the highs and lows of operating in a consumer-driven retail market. The entire supply chain is delicately balanced around production, efficiency and timing. It is often based on different regions geared to take advantage of climate and location.
While the system often delivers, recent examples of high prices post Cyclone Debbie and the recent glut shine a light on how growers are the first to lose out when the system loses balance.
While growers do not benefit from producing high quality fruit and vegetables for only a fraction of their usual value, as an industry we must accept the sometimes harsh market realities we operate within.
What is less easy to accept, however, is when times get tough, profit margins are squeezed, and growers continue to be overcharged for water and electricity.
Electricity prices continue rising despite fierce opposition from all sectors of Queensland business. The unsustainable prices of electricity in this state continue to apply unnecessary pressure on growers while they grapple with uncontrollable market changes.
At a time when growers face market forces beyond their control, the least they expect is for our political leaders is to step up and take charge of something they can fix.
Growcom will continue to represent its members and pressure the political parties to get serious about making Queensland a viable place to conduct business.