The quantity of vegetables imported into Australia has reached the highest levels on record according to new data sourced by AUSVEG.
AUSVEG is the national Peak Industry Body representing Australia’s 9,000 vegetable and potato growers.
“It is disappointing to see the amount of vegetables we import into Australia, as this country already produces far more vegetables than we need,” said AUSVEG Public Affairs Manager, William Churchill.
“The biggest culprit is frozen vegetables, with $231 million dollars worth of produce being imported from November 2010 to October 2011,” said Mr Churchill.
“A vast amount of our frozen food imports are coming from China, which is a concern as the BBC has recently reported that communities of city dwelling Chinese citizens are working on community farms on weekends because they do not trust the produce being sold in their supermarkets,” said Mr Churchill.
In the period between November 2010 to October 2011 Australia imported $651 million dollars worth of vegetables and only exported $265 million dollars worth of vegetables, leaving a trade deficit of $386 million dollars.
“The trade deficit has ballooned by an extra $63 million dollars in the last twelve months and is up a staggering $151 million dollars from four years ago. This country is being overwhelmed by cheap foreign imported produce,” said Mr Churchill.
New Zealand, China, Italy and the United States are the largest countries of origin for produce entering Australia.
“It is disappointing that we are yet to see adequate Country of Origin labelling on food products, despite imported food being an ongoing and growing issue,” said Mr Churchill.
“Changes are needed to the rules that govern Country of Origin Labelling so that consumers can make their own informed choices as to where the produce they eat comes from quickly and easily,” said Mr Churchill.
William Churchill – Communications & Public Affairs Manager, AUSVEG
Phone: (03) 9822 0388, Mobile: 0411 166 748 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org