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Calls for farm gate price to be shown in supermarkets

It was the stuff dreams are made of: five young women, passionate about agriculture, pitching an idea to the big of end town in the hope of securing their future and the future of Australia’s farmers.

And pitch they did at the ABC’s annual Heywire Regional Youth summit in Canberra!

In a very bold plan they want supermarkets to show farm gate prices on labels, right next to the price tag. The gustsy idea pricked the ears of a couple of politicians, keen to take the plan further.

Ashlee Hammond from Tragowel in north western Victoria wants to see consumers better informed about their produce purchases and the price differences between the cost to the consumer and the price farmers receive.

“Part of our pitch called for on-shelf labelling that states, not only how much Coles or Woolies are selling it for, but how much they paid the primary producer for that product.

Agriculture student Tiffany Davey from the central wheat belt in Western Australia was blown away by the positive reaction to their idea.

“I was surprised by how big people thought our idea was and how important it is to the future of Australia’s producers.”

Senator Ian McDonald, Opposition Spokesman for Northern and Remote Australia, says he found the idea interesting, and wants to take it further.

“Those five young girls, who want to be farmers in the future, quite rightly said that unless something happens with the pricing of their produce, they’re not going to be able to afford it.”

“Their idea will let the public make their own assessments on the price they’re paying and whether the farmers are getting a fair price.

“This was a good idea to get city people thinking about what they’re paying and what the farmers actually get.

“There are some initiatives already on the way that this idea could fit into.”

Tasmanian senator Richard Colbeck is the Opposition’s Agriculture spokesman. He says there’s already labelling technology in the works that could help these young advocates put their plan into action.

In the next couple of months there will be the roll out of QR scanning codes in shops.

Some groceries will have a ‘quick response’ code which the shopper scans with their smart phone. It will take them directly to a website that will reveal that product’s nutritional value as well as other data such as any relevant allergy information.

Mr Colbeck thinks the product’s farming history should also be incorporated into the QR codes.

“There’s a fair bit of work for these young women to do but the platform that they’re looking for to implement their idea is not far away. It’s industry that’s developing this platform and it’s only a couple of months away so they’ve probably come along at a pretty good time.”

Senator Ian MacDonald admits there’s a fair bit of work to do before this bold plan can become a reality.

“Well, I’ve heard the aural presentations. I want to look at this on paper and see how it fits in. Nothing is easy.”

Source: Lisa Herbert, ABC Rural, http://www.abc.net.au/rural/nsw/content/2013/02/s3687587.htm?site=newengland