• Staff Writers

Littleproud tackles 'big three' supermarkets in fight for farmers

The Federal Minister for Agriculture, David Littleproud, appeared on the Flow FM airwaves while visiting regional South Australia to outline his latest agenda for benefitting Australian farmers.

The deputy leader of the National Party said Australian consumers do not want to see farmers disadvantaged.

"We're also looking to make sure there's transparency in markets."
"I've had some real concerns about how the big two Australian supermarkets and the big German [Aldi supermarkets] have been treating our farmers and I called an ACCC inquiry into that and they came back with some recommendations around greater transparency for a number of commodities."
"One of those was the chicken meat sector, not just with the supermarkets, but the processes, in making sure that those farmers have the same information that the processes and supermarkets do when they negotiate."
"There can't be a market and power imbalance and that's what we're squaring up and making sure that we give those farmers the tools to make informed when they're negotiating with processes."
"Farmers don't want special treatment, they just want a fair price and I think Australian consumers also want to do that."

To hear the full interview with David Littleproud, deputy leader of the Nationals and agriculture minister, listen to the Flow podcast player below:

Littleproud spruiked his government’s latest pledge to the farming sector, which he believes will square the ledger between farmers and supermarkets when it comes to navigating production costs.

"A small investment, just over $500k AUD to have a digital platform that'll work through that to give farmers those tools and to work through that."

German supermarket chain Aldi recently shared its research on shopping trends in response to higher costs of living, saying among other things Australians were buying less meat due to its higher price. Australian beef prices for cattle producers have sat above a record $11 a kilogram for months according to Meat and Livestock Australia's Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI).

Regular analysts on FlowFM's Friday Country Viewpoint program have attested the prime driver of the higher beef price has been the nation's farmers competing with meat processors to buy cattle for restocking as they recover from drought.

Littleproud then went on the attack, slamming 'the big German' for disrupting competitiveness in the market with milk prices:

"They [Aldi] started this whole thing with Coles and Woolworths in devaluing our dairy industry by putting a $1 for a litre milk."
"They devalued an industry overnight to get customers through their stores and they really have no social license to be commentating about what cost of production is if they're not prepared to open up their own books."
"This is something that Australians don't take for granted...they want to have that luxury to walk into a supermarket and they want farmers to be there, but farmers won't be there if they're not getting a fair price and I think supermarkets need to show that transparency."
"The second part of this ACCC inquiry....is that once we get that transparency in pricing and in the market, is that if they [supermarkets] can't demonstrate that [transparency], then the government may need to regulate and I'm not afraid to do that - to step in and protect Australian farmers to get fair prices over the big three supermarkets."