Don’t panic, urges VFF

Shepparton News - Country News - - FRONT PAGE - By Geoff Adams

While panic buy­ing has hit some Aus­tralian su­per­mar­kets, the VFF has moved to re­as­sure con­sumers that Vic­to­ri­ans will not run out of food.

VFF leader David Jochinke said he un­der­stood there was some panic and fear due to the caron­avirus out­break but Victorian farm­ers were meet­ing the de­mand.

“We feed you and we will con­tinue to feed you,” Mr Jochinke said.

“It’s timely that we re­flect on the re­mark­able scale of food that we pro­duce right here. We pro­duce more than we con­sume. We are a nett ex­porter.

‘‘At the mo­ment, we are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing an un­re­al­is­tic surge in de­mand. That means, if Vic­to­ri­ans con­tinue to pur­chase in bulk, it might take a few days to get things from pad­dock to plate.”

Vic­to­ria ac­counts for:

■ 23 per cent of Aus­tralia’s to­tal gross value of agri­cul­ture;

■ 42 per cent of Aus­tralia’s sheep and lamb meat;

■ 62 per cent of Aus­tralia’s milk; and

■ 32 per cent of Aus­tralia’s hor­ti­cul­tural prod­ucts.

Mr Jochinke said Vic­to­ria had a strong com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage across mul­ti­ple agri­cul­tural in­dus­tries in­clud­ing its global rep­u­ta­tion as a source of clean, safe food and fi­bre, and the di­ver­sity of food it pro­duces.

“Un­doubt­edly, there will be some chal­lenges go­ing for­ward,” Mr Jochinke said.

“We are keep­ing a close watch on work­force, labour and sup­ply chain is­sues as well as the re­ac­tions from our trad­ing part­ners.

‘‘The VFF con­tin­ues to work closely with the fed­eral and state govern­ments to map th­ese is­sues, plan for them and ad­dress them.”

Mr Jochinke said COVID-19 may af­fect the move­ments of sea­sonal, ca­sual and per­ma­nent work­ers and that may have an im­pact on the abil­ity of farms to se­cure much-needed work­ers.

“Sim­i­larly, there may be at­ten­dant sup­ply chain is­sues associated with trans­porta­tion.’’

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