Current events will test our resolve and leadership

Current events will test our resolve and leadership

Opinion
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Access to a secure and affordable supply of fresh food is essential to maintaining community health and cohesion.

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The current COVID-19 pandemic is being described in apocalyptic terms - the most damaging economic event since the Great Depression, the greatest social upheaval since World War I.

There is absolutely no doubt that the world will be a different place when we come out of the other side of this momentous event - but we will survive and no doubt be the stronger for it.

But we need to respond quickly, remain calm, respect wise leadership and demonstrate mountains of resolve.

American author Doe Zantamata wrote that it is "is only in our darkest hours that we may discover the true strength" we all possess.

Australian farmers are a notoriously resilient bunch and know how to survive a crisis.

Although the impact on agriculture will be significant, we have an opportunity - indeed an obligation - to contribute more than most other sectors.

After all, access to a secure and affordable supply of fresh food is essential to maintaining community health and cohesion.

Our priority this week has been working with the state government - and through our national association, the NFF with the federal government - to have agriculture and all links in the food supply chain declared an "essential service".

This will ensure that the very sensible measures to limit or slow the spread of COVID-19 don't impact on getting fresh food onto Australians' tables or on the supply of essential ag input to our farmers.

One test of our country's and our industry's leadership and resolve is in acting quickly and implementing decisions that may not be popular.

Another is ensuring that the necessary focus on COVID-19 doesn't distract us from other important issues.

Currently, AgForce is considering whether to add cane as a fourth commodity - a momentous decision for us and for the cane industry.

This is a decision that will outlast the effects of the COVID virus on our industry, and a critical conversation that needs to continue.

Albeit at a safe distance!

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