Greens launch $85m plan to help farmers

AAPThe West Australian

The Greens have announced an $85 million plan to allow farmers to bypass Australia’s major supermarkets and sell direct to the public.

In Perth today, Greens leader Christine Milne said the $85 million in grants over four years would connect farmers and local communities by helping create more farmers markets, mobile markets and community food box schemes.

Ms Milne also hoped the creation and support for producer cooperatives, and a new regional food brand would ease the pressures on struggling farmers.

“Farmers aren’t getting decent farm gate prices, and the supermarkets are putting downward pressure on farmers,” she said.

“In many cases they’re having to try to produce even below the cost of production. That’s just not right.”

The policy is based on a similar scheme launched in 2009 by US President Barack Obama called “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food”.

Ms Milne said the pressure on farmers had been produced by both the Labor and the Coalition governments helping Australia “develop the most concentrated supermarket retail sector in the world”.

“Our food system as a result is highly centralised and increasingly reliant on importing cheap processed food,” Ms Milne said.

“There are significant barriers and little assistance for farmers wanting to sell direct to the public.”

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