Don’t panic, urges VFF

By Geoff Adams

While panic buying has hit some Australian supermarkets, the VFF has moved to reassure consumers that Victorians will not run out of food.

VFF leader David Jochinke said he understood there was some panic and fear due to the caronavirus outbreak but Victorian farmers were meeting the demand.

“We feed you and we will continue to feed you,” Mr Jochinke said.

“It’s timely that we reflect on the remarkable scale of food that we produce right here. We produce more than we consume. We are a nett exporter.

``At the moment, we are experiencing an unrealistic surge in demand. That means, if Victorians continue to purchase in bulk, it might take a few days to get things from paddock to plate.”

Victoria accounts for:

● 23 per cent of Australia’s total gross value of agriculture;

● 42 per cent of Australia’s sheep and lamb meat;

● 62 per cent of Australia’s milk; and

● 32 per cent of Australia’s horticultural products.

Mr Jochinke said Victoria had a strong competitive advantage across multiple agricultural industries including its global reputation as a source of clean, safe food and fibre, and the diversity of food it produces.

“Undoubtedly, there will be some challenges going forward,” Mr Jochinke said.

“We are keeping a close watch on workforce, labour and supply chain issues as well as the reactions from our trading partners. The VFF continues to work closely with the federal and state governments to map these issues, plan for them and address them.”

Mr Jochinke said COVID-19 may affect the movements of seasonal, casual and permanent workers and that may have an impact on the ability of farms to secure much-needed workers.

“Similarly, there may be attendant supply chain issues associated with transportation including road, air and freight.”