PMA reject calls to reveal prices paid to growers

PMA Australia-New Zealand (PMA A-NZ), the leading fresh produce and floral industries’ trade association in the Australasian region, has rejected calls by Independent Senator Nick Xenophon and Federal MP Bob Katter for Parliament to support a bill that would require big supermarkets to disclose mark-ups on fresh produce.

Michael Worthington, CEO of PMA A-NZ today spoke out against the move, stating that this proposal would be almost impossible to implement.

“It takes no account of the fact that the major supermarkets buy some of their produce from wholesalers, so who would then be responsible for determining what the wholesaler has paid the grower? More often than not, produce is consolidated, graded, packed or processed by an intermediary who is sourcing from multiple growers – again, it would be nigh-on-impossible for there to be a clear chain of transactions to determine what was paid to the grower. And finally, fruit and vegetable prices change almost daily depending on supply and demand, so the task of monitoring and updating prices would be monumental” he said.

Mr Worthington added: “PMA A-NZ cannot understand what will be gained from this proposed bill; if the major supermarkets were making such massive profits at the expense of growers, then it would not take long before all the smaller independents were under-cutting them and we are not seeing any evidence of that. It is a competitive retail market out there for fruit and vegetables.”

“If growers do want to get a higher proportion of what consumers are prepared to pay, then they will have to avoid all the supply chain costs incurred in selling product through a retailer and instead sell at a Farmers’ Market. Making the major supermarkets implement a costly and unworkable system will achieve absolutely nothing for fresh produce growers and will be about as effective as the failed Grocery Watch scheme brought in by the Labor government,” he said.

PMA A-NZ believes that getting government support for its campaign to boost consumption of fresh produce would be a much more worthwhile initiative to benefit growers. “Supporting initiatives to increase the consumption of these healthy products to overcome the increasing rates of obesity and heart disease would be in the best interests of consumers and growers alike”, said Mr. Worthington.

PMA A-NZ is the first international affiliate of Produce Marketing Association (PMA), the leading global fresh produce and floral industries’ trade association. PMA A-NZ’s membership comprises fruit, vegetable and floral companies across the value chain in Australia and New Zealand; from seed companies and growers through to wholesalers and retailers.