Australian farmers are being blamed for the skyrocketing cost of produce. Given the $10 and sometimes $12 price tags for a head of lettuce, it’s hard to blame them. The farmers in turn contend that they are also being taken advantage of, as they certainly aren’t seeing money like that.
Guy Gaeta, a farmer who also is the chair of the NSW Farmers horticulture committee says this is not the fault of the growers. “If we were getting $10 – or more – for lettuce, we would be driving Ferraris. We are not (the ones) making the money. The (supermarket) chains — they are ripping the farmers off and they are ripping the consumer off.” He also reminded people of the lower pricing at local farmers’ markets where produce can easily be found for $4 a kilo.
Cherries are another great example. In the large stores, they are $35 a kilo, while Gaeta sells them for $10. The Pink Lady brand of apples is a discount line, and normally sells for $4.99 a kilo, but are now commonly being seen at $11 for the same product.
National Farmers’ Federation economist Ash Salardini sees a laundry list of reasons for the prices to be jumping like this while speaking to News Corp. “Globally there is a shortage of food, crops were below average in the northern hemisphere and you have the Ukraine conflict, which has put about 40 percent of wheat production in jeopardy and also canola oil. There are also workforce shortages and the cost of freight has gone up exponentially, so it all adds up to food price inflation.”
Salardini also claimed Coles and Woolworths were ‘taking the mickey’ due to their tremendous grip on the Australian market, and that they are squeezing ‘every last cent’ from both farmers and consumers.
Given that Australia is an Island with minimal farmable land, it is not a surprise that the nation is having tremendous problems with its grocery production. The US has ample plantable land, but so many farmers have been paid for years to grow inedible crops like soybeans. These farmers are unable to quickly rise and meet the new demands with Ukraine and Russia being out of production.
The mention of labor by Salardini is a very valid one. Like it or not, the illegal alien population has been handling a vast majority of the harvesting of crops in the US for decades. Given the criminal-level wages they are offering for incredibly tough and painful work, most Americans will not take them up on their offers for employment. If paid the working wage most Americans need to survive, our prices would quickly be at the same level as Australia’s, maybe even worse.
Our inflation bubble is only continuing the grow under President Biden. Between ever-rising costs to run the farming equipment, the costs of getting it to a distribution facility, and the expense of getting it to the store and stocked on the shelves, it is never-ending. Any increase at some point within that chain just means a snowball effect as you go down the line.
The American people cannot afford to see these kinds of price increases like Australia has felt, especially with the other rising costs. While states like Alaska and Hawaii are paying through the nose, that is due to the massive costs to bring products to these states in the first place. To bring costs up to that level here would be catastrophic.
Surprisingly enough the American people have not been rioting or at least protesting the ever-increasing prices of everything. Should our food pricing start to follow that of Australia’s, that may end quickly. For now, the American people are adjusting as best they can. From shopping at smaller markets to working directly with the butcher on a bulk deal, we are finding our way. Hopefully, it can hold out.