Queensland vegetable growers in desperate need of help; Federal Government must provide long-term assistance
AUSVEG Chairman John Brent today said that vegetable growers in Queensland had been hit hard by the recent floods and long term Federal Government assistance was now needed for many to survive the winter growing season.
AUSVEG is the national peak industry body representing the interests of over 9,000 Australian vegetable and potato growers.
“Whilst this is not a key growing period in Queensland, many vegetable growers are going to be suffering the consequences of these floods for many months and years to come,” he said.
“Thankfully no grower has lost their life as far as we can tell and the industries’ thoughts are with those who have lost loved ones in this horrible natural disaster.”
“Many growers have lost their top soil and there is damage to dams, equipment, housing, packing sheds and other infrastructure on their farms. The growers just aren’t going to be ready to plant their crops for the upcoming season and many don’t have the capital available to fix vital infrastructure.”
“It’s still difficult even moving around in many areas of Queensland. It’s going to take a long time before things get back to normal.”
“Whilst growers in other States are currently meeting the demands of Queensland vegetable consumers, it is the period ahead that we are worried about in terms of Queensland growers and their production capabilities.”
“There are nurseries currently producing huge quantities of seedlings and we just don’t think that the growers are going to be ready in time to plant. Some properties have been wiped out.”
“The Federal Government needs to act quickly and make available long term financial assistance to growers that does not require the provision of security. The banks are becoming increasingly tough on growers and if the Government doesn’t act soon, the industry will lose many of its growers this season. That would be a major food security concern for Australia given our increasing reliance on imports.”
“There are going to be long term delays to the growing season in the Lockyer Valley. This area acts as a food bowl for Australia over the winter period and at the moment it has been absolutely devastated.”
“The rain has been coming down for months now. Even before the floods, growers were having problems with the ongoing wet weather delaying planting and harvesting. Many are now faced with financial ruin. They need our help.”
“The most important thing that the Government can do is provide financial assistance to these growers. It must happen or many growers will lose everything,” he said.
MEDIA CONTACT: Hugh Tobin, Communications and Public Affairs Manager, AUSVEG
Phone: (03) 9822 0388, Mobile: 0431 939 920, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org