Lockyer veggie farmers: We have enough spuds without imports
AMERICAN potato chips imported into the potato-dense Lockyer Valley doesn't make a lot of sense to organic veggie farmer Rob Bauer.
The Lockyer farmer said reforms under the Farm Debt Mediation Bill in Parliament on Tuesday, which forced banks to mediate with landholders before foreclosing, was only one of many vital support mechanisms the agriculture industry needed.
Mr Bauer said there was plenty of other reforms needed to help farmers avoid foreclosure and to help them stay independent on their land. He said high electricity prices, high imports and low product prices were putting farmers under financial pressure.
"One of the biggest problems is the down, down, down, cheap, cheap, cheap. The supermarkets are promising you and me as the customer that the prices will be cheap," he said. "There is no guarantee on electricity prices and we also need a fair price for our product."
The Bauer's Organic Farm owner said high import rates were limiting local producers' markets. "We're competing with overseas product all the time. It's so stupid, American potato chips are coming into the Lockyer Valley and Lockyer Valley is renowned for its potatoes," he said.
"The Americans are buying beef from us and they have plenty of beef. They talk locally about food miles, eat local product, farmer's markets and local product but they import products we have from overseas, it doesn't make sense to me. "They've got their own meat and we've got our own potatoes."
Ipswich West MP Jim Madden said the Farm Debt Mediation Bill supported agriculture in Queensland and in particular primary producers who found themselves in financial difficulties
"The primary objective of the bill is to provide a process for the efficient and equitable resolution of farm debt matters," Mr Madden said.