Farmers on the raw end

National Farmer's Federation (NFF) CEO Tony Mahar.

AS supermarket prices continue to climb, some farmers who provide stock for the marketing giants are not seeing the extra effort being paid back.

National Farmer’s Federation (NFF) CEO Tony Mahar said many farmers continue to be held to ransom by the might and power of the food supply chain with little to no protection from Australia’s competition law.

“Australians expect farmers to receive their fair share for the food they produce,” Mr Mahar said.

“While prices are on the up, farmers remain price takers at the mercy of the formidable bargaining position of processors and retailers.”

In the lead up to the Federal election, the NFF is calling on both major parties to commit to competition law reform to even the odds for farmers, small businesses and consumers.

‚ÄúThere must be an end to the unfair, unethical and unconscionable business practices which hurt farmers, small businesses, and consumers,” Mr Mahar said.

“Growers have few options as to who they contract with and often growers have no option but to accept contracts which are not in their best interest.”

The NFF is calling for the establishment of a Perishable Agricultural Goods Advocate to undertake compliance and enforcement activities on behalf of the most vulnerable in the food supply chain.

It also wants the ability for unfair clauses to be struck out of contracts and impose financial penalties for unfair contract terms.

The NFF wants reform of merger and acquisitions laws that enable the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to stop acquisitions which may create undue market concentration in the future, and provide the ACCC with greater ability to place conditions on such acquisitions.

It also wants the introduction of a legislative right to repair for farm machinery to ensure farmers are not gouged for the cost of machinery repairs and maintenance.