Scheme to be led by industry bodies and include negotiation training 

Shopper at the supermarket

The Queensland government says families are paying more for fresh produce while growers make less

The Queensland government has announced it will trial a farm gate price monitoring scheme with the aim of helping growers receive a better price for their produce 

A joint statement from Queensland premier, Steven Miles, and minister for agricultural industry development and fisheries and minister for rural communities, Mark Furner, said Queensland families are paying more for fresh produce at the supermarket while farmers make less. This has led to Australians consuming fewer fresh products and instead favouring cheaper, packaged foods.  

“I shared a story earlier this year of a farmer selling watermelons by the road for A$10 each, because he couldn’t afford to sell it for the A$4 he was offered by the supermarkets,” Miles said. 

“It’s a story that is all too familiar for those in the industry and something growers tell me is happening more and more often.” 

The proposed scheme will be led by industry and will collate and analyse farm financial performance, historical data and weekly wholesale and retail pricing data to monitor trends across the top 20 products. 

“We know Queensland’s produce holds more value than what is currently being paid and we are going to do all we can to support our growers to achieve a fair return at market,” said Queensland Fruit and Vegetable Growers chief executive Rachel Chambers. 

“We appreciate the Miles government’s trust in us as the state industry body and their genuine understanding of how complex these issues are and how we must all tread carefully but work together in this space.” 

The government hopes this information, in tandem with contract negotiation and cost of production training, will give farmers the information and skills to effectively negotiate better deals – resulting in fairer returns. 

Workshops will be held in each major growing region to upskill growers in the art of negotiation, ensuring they are confident in their dealings with buyers and retailers. 

“I want farmers to be equipped with the information and training they need to back themselves and advocate for their product,” Miles said. 

“Our produce is the envy of the world so it’s time our farmers were rewarded for their hard work.” 

The government will also seek to develop a production cost best practice model for Queensland growers. This will help farmers understand their profitability and risk. 

“QFF welcomes this announcement and the willingness of government to partner with industry on what is a critical issue for farmers and consumers,” said Queensland Farmers’ Federation chief executive Jo Sheppard. 

“Market transparency and fair-trading terms need to be improved to ensure the future viability of farmers and everyday Australian’s ability to access and afford Australian food.”