Fresh Produce in Abundance: NSW Farmers

By Hari Yellina
Photo by Arnaldo Aldana on Unsplash

Despite supply chain concerns, NSW Farmers, the state’s leading agricultural group, insists there is plenty of fresh food in the field. Especially during the difficult weather of recent months, NSW Farmers President James Jackson said there was good supply of fresh food and asked people not to panic buy. Mr Jackson believes that the growers are sending lots of goods down to the Sydney Markets, and thus focus is on ensuring farm businesses can continue to succeed from these harvests. Right now, the biggest concern for the agriculture sector is sick workers and a lack of access to Rapid Antigen Tests, which are combining to cause these broader supply chain issues.

With numerous anecdotal reports of local worker shortages as the Omicron variant spreads across the country, Mr Jackson urged state and federal governments, as well as large supermarkets, to look into ways to provide farmers with Rapid Antigen Tests so they can keep sick workers at home while harvesting fruit and vegetables and managing livestock. “We’ve seen some encouraging news,” Mr Jackson said, “but the fact remains that the fresh food we eat is grown on Australian farms, and if our farmers can’t get it out of their fields, it won’t make it to shop shelves. What is really needed is a quick supply of tests for farmers so they can keep feeding Australian families.

In the latest outbreak, there is a need for the agriculture sector to get priority access to Rapid Antigen Testing, including harvest workers and those in the meat processing sectors, and those in transport and handling. This can be avoided if the nation returns to the scenes of early 2020, when customers were stockpiling food items. “Our growers are sending plenty of produce down to the Sydney Markets, and we’re working on making sure farm businesses can continue to harvest these crops,” Mr Jackson said.

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