Acknowledging the amazing work in our ag sector

SOURCE: Roma Britnell says the pandemic has given us a new appreciation of where and how our food gets from paddock to plate. Photo: Supplied
SOURCE: Roma Britnell says the pandemic has given us a new appreciation of where and how our food gets from paddock to plate. Photo: Supplied

As we celebrate National Agriculture Day today, it is a good time to acknowledge the amazing work everyone in our agricultural sector does.

It goes without saying the last two years have been difficult and it would be hard to find a sector that has not been impacted by COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns.

While there has been a lot of focus on the devastating impact the pandemic has had on small businesses and sectors such as hospitality and tourism - and rightly so - the affect it has had on agriculture can not be understated.

In the early stages of COVID-19 lockdowns, we experienced panic buying in our supermarkets and while the shelves were stripped of goods like toilet paper (for some inexplicable reason), the demand for fresh fruit, vegetables and meat was always met. It gave us a new appreciation of where and how our food gets from paddock to plate.

Behind the scenes, our farmers and all associated workers in the agricultural sector had to adapt to new on-farm rules such as COVID-safe plans; lack of access to international seasonal workers due to travel bans and difficulties with movement of their produce both domestically and internationally due to border closures.

Studies have begun to show the first wave of COVID-19 panic buying was responsible for price rises on our shelves and the associated pressure on transport costs and lack of seasonal workers is continuing to see the cost of fresh food rise in our supermarkets.

Food affordability and accessibility will continue to be an issue for governments as we reopen, recover and rebuild.

Australia's farmers continue to show they are among the most innovative in the world and have the ability to meet any demands for fresh food.

Their resilience despite the difficulties of the past couple of years is a reminder to all of us of what can be achieved through perseverance and hard work and farmers epitomise this.

Roma Britnell is the Member for South West Coast.

For details about National Agriculture Day, visit agday.org.au.

SHARE