Competition top issue for farmers, food code review chance to get it right

NFF chief executive officer Tony Mahar.

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) welcomes the Federal Government’s announcement of a second review of the Food and Grocery Code of Conduct.

The NFF has long expressed concern about significant market concentration in Australia’s retail sector, especially in supermarkets.

“Competition ranked as one of the top issues farmers were very concerned about in the National Farmer Priorities Survey released yesterday,” NFF CEO Tony Mahar said.

“Australia is number one in the world for supermarket concentration. We need to make sure this power isn’t being used to squeeze more than what’s fair from farmers and consumers.

The NFF supports the intention of the code as an attempt to improve standards of business behaviour in the food and grocery sector.

“While the code has not been as successful as hoped, the NFF believes this review is an opportunity to adopt key changes that can provide greater certainty for all players within the supply chain,” Mr Mahar said.

The NFF calls on this review to adopt the recommendations of the ACCC’s Perishable Agricultural Goods Inquiry, including making the code mandatory, removing the ability of retailers to contract out important protections in the code, the introduction of significant civil pecuniary penalties and providing a genuinely independent dispute resolution.

“The NFF looks forward to engaging in this process to create a more level playing field for our farmers.”