AUSVEG is urgently calling on the ACCC to undertake immediate action to investigate the behaviour of Woolworths who are seeking enormous contributions from Australia’s horticulturalists to pay for their much touted Jamie Oliver campaign.
Woolworths are demanding hundreds of thousands of dollars from individual growers around Australia to fund their new campaign in the form of a massive new 40c per crate charge on top of the 2.5 – 5% fee growers are already required to pay Woolworths for them to market and promote their produce.
AUSVEG is the leading horticultural body representing Australia’s 9000 vegetable and potato growers.
Growers around the country are being given no undertaking from Woolworths on what return they will see from the additional funds they are being asked to provide to fund the promotion.
AUSVEG held a press conference with Independent South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon, a long-time supporter of the Australian vegetable and potato industries, to expose Woolworths’ behaviour.
“AUSVEG is alarmed at the way that Woolworths is squeezing its suppliers for more cash and are outraged at the way that the company is behaving,” said AUSVEG Acting CEO, William Churchill.
Growers around the country are frightened that if they do not comply with these requests to fund the campaign their business with the country’s biggest supermarket will be blacklisted and they will start to receive fewer orders for produce, or be struck out altogether.
“It’s astounding for a company that posted a $1.32 billion net profit in February and employs 190,000 staff to be going back to already squeezed farmers and asking them to cough up more money to pay for promotions,” said Mr Churchill.
Questions being asked by growers are the basics of any business. What will be my return on investment? How will this additional levy money be spent? How is this new program budgeted? It’s reasonable for any farmer to be concerned when this basic information is not provided.
“Australia’s farmers cannot afford to fund Woolworths’ marketing campaigns and expectations that growers should contribute more are totally unreasonable. The ACCC must immediately investigate” said Mr Churchill.
Posted 7 June 2014