The National Farmers’ Federation has declared “it is business as usual” despite the global coronavirus crisis, urging Australians to let go of their fears amid scenes of panic-buying and empty supermarket shelves.
National Farmers Federation president Fiona Simson said Australians did not need to be concerned about a national food shortage amid growing virus-related fears, border closures, event cancellations and restrictions on gatherings.
It comes as the federation prepares to launch a national communications campaign to reassure Australians that there is “more than enough to go around” for everyone and urging people to stick to their normal buying patterns.
“Bare supermarket shelves can be unsettling during these uncertain times and it’s natural to want to look after our families as best we can,” Ms Simson said.
“However … in the days and months ahead, Australians can be reassured that farmers are not shutting down.
“It’s business as usual. Farmers are getting on with the job, continuing to produce the meat, grains, milk, fruit and vegetables that we all love and rely on.”
Unlike other countries, Australians’ access to home-grown, quality, safe food is extremely secure— Fiona Simson
Ms Simson said Australian farmers produced enough food to feed 75 million people.
“That’s three times our own population. In fact, two-thirds of what our farmers produce each year is exported for the world to enjoy,” she said.
“Unlike other countries, Australians’ access to home-grown, quality, safe food is extremely secure.
“Between 80-96 per cent of the food on Australian supermarket shelves is grown in Australia.
“Our food supply chain is adjusting to the increase in demand from panic buying in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Consumption has not increased. We’re urging shoppers to stick to their normal buying patterns to ensure everyone can access the groceries they need.
“If we do that, there is more than enough to go around.”
Ms Simson said farmers appreciated the support they received from Australians during the recent tough times.
“Now more than ever, with the lives of so many Australians disrupted, farmers are committed to supporting their fellow Aussies with ‘business as usual’ in the provision of fresh produce.”