A newly launched Food Alliance will advise the federal government on solutions to what it describes as ‘immediate food-related issues’.
The alliance is made up of Independent Food Distributors Australia (IFDA), The National Farmers Federation (NFF), Australian Meat Industry Council, (AMIC), Master Grocers Australia (MGA) and the Australian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS). The alliance has also said other industry associations have expressed interest.
The issues the Food Alliance has named as a focus include labour shortages; rising costs within the supply chain, including fuel and energy; competition reform policy; and addressing domestic supply chain issues to insulate Australia from international factors.
CEO of IFDA Richard Forbes says food security is a critical issue at the moment.
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“Food security is key in these uncertain times, so we need to work together, across all industry sectors, and with government, hand in glove, to overcome the many significant domestic and global challenges the food supply chain faces,” Forbes said.
Patrick Hutchinson, CEO at AMIC, mentioned the labour shortage was leaving supermarkets with empty shelves at times.
“Luckily, many family- and privately-owned grocer and butcher shops, convenience stores, petrol stations, cafes and restaurants, whilst also impacted, helped avoid a serious national crisis with food availability,” Hutchinson added.
“To fix the current issues within the supply chain, all those operating within it need to be recognised and consulted, not just a select few,” CEO of MGA Jos De Bruin added.
“This includes the massive contribution of independent, family-based food businesses in Australia, who provide billions of tonnes of food annually into the domestic market alone.”
De Bruin continued to mention the alliance represents hospitality organisations that supply food to institutions like hospitals, nursing homes, schools and prisons.
The formation of the alliance comes at a time of increasing food prices, with the war on Ukraine, COVID-19 impacts, and floods in Queensland and New South Wales affecting food production and supply.
This article was first published by The Mandarin.