News

Farmers' market blasts price war

Paul Wilson of Nimbin is encouraging people to buy the abundance of fresh produce at local farmers’ markets.
Paul Wilson of Nimbin is encouraging people to buy the abundance of fresh produce at local farmers’ markets. Jay Cronan

FARMERS at the Lismore Produce Market have hit out at the two major supermarkets over a possible "war" to reduce vegetable prices.

This week Coles announced it would reduce the cost of selected products by up to 50% and Woolworths is expected to respond by slashing its vegetable prices.

Coles' price slashing on vegetables comes one year after it outraged dairy farmers by cutting the price of milk to $1 a litre.

But Lismore Produce Market vice-president Paul Wilson said lower prices were not necessarily good for competition or consumers.

"They are not content with 80% of the retail market, they want it all, at our expense," Mr Wilson said.

"People need to understand that picking the cheapest product off the shelf at the supermarket has real consequences for farmers, the community and the environment."

Mr Wilson said it was clear that farmers would wear the true cost of the price cuts.

"Farmers cannot ask for cheaper fertiliser or fuel so they must wear the costs," Mr Wilson said.

"With only two big buyers and many sellers the market is distorted in favour of the supermarkets.

"Markets offer fresher, cheaper produce that the supermarkets can't even come close to."

The vegetable price war has also been criticised by The Australian Food and Grocery Council, which said a supermarket ombudsman is needed to enforce a fair trading code of conduct.

But Coles general manager for fresh produce Greg Davis "flatly rejected" claims a potential price war would hurt Australian farmers.

"We are delighted with the reaction from customers to our new fresh super specials," Mr Davis said.

"We are acting responsibly and fairly and our farmer suppliers are pleased with what Coles is doing."

The impact of the price war is already clear, with Coles selling potatoes and carrots in Lismore for under $1 a kilo.

However Byron Bay and Bangalow Farmers' market manager Michael Stack said shopping at a farmers' market benefits the local community.

"We don't price gouge, so if you want to buy something at a farmers' market the price is very constant."

Topics:  coles, paul wilson, woolworths




Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Man arrested over shots fired at a property in Tabulam

Man is assisting police with their enquiries

Many hands make light work as Lismore labyrinth is built

Friends of the Lismore Rainforest Botanic Gardens president Marie Matthews and Lismore mayor, Jenny Dowell, cutting the ribbon at the opening of the Hoop Pine Forest Walk.

Stones carried one-by-one up a Lismore garden path.

Latest deals and offers

Fair go skin cancer

Skin cancer specialists needed in Lismore

Fair go skin cancer

Aussie milk crisis

Local vendors sell Norco

Aussie milk crisis but local vendors sell local Norco milk.

Wood chopper wants you to buy wood

If you've got a stove, get out here and buy some wood

Wood chopper wants you to buy wood

Lismore real estate agent celebrates 100th birthday

LJ Hooker Lismore principal Paul Deegan is the third generation to operate the 100-year-old family business.

A Lismore real estate is celebrating 100 years in business.

Coastal development keeps young people on Northern Rivers

Wes Bale is a 27-year-old born and bred Lennox Head local who is an example of the demographic shift in the region.

Young Northern Rivers residents are looking closer to home