Australia’s peak industry body representing the interests of Australian vegetable and potato growers, AUSVEG is today asking the ACCC to investigate claims Woolworths has asked farmers to chip in for a marketing campaign.
In a statement AUSVEG has urged the ACCC “undertake immediate action to investigate the behaviour of Woolworths who are seeking enormous contributions from Australia’s horticulturists to pay for their much touted Jamie Oliver campaign”.
AUSVEG asserts Woolworths has asked growers for a “massive new 40c per crate charge on top of the 2.5 – 5 per cent fee growers are already required to pay Woolworths for them to market and promote their produce.”
South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon has joined the call for an investigation saying at the press conference with AUSVEG acting CEO William Churchill that growers “don’t have a choice. If half your business is with Coles or Woolies or both, if you displease them, you’re in real trouble, and they can unilaterally say, ‘this is what we’re going to charge you — take it or leave it’”.
AUSVEG communications manager William Churchill said: “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,” adding that Australia’s farmers simply can’t afford to fund Woolworths’ marketing.
Please Note: There is no suggestion in the AUSVEG press release, Nick Xenophon’s comments or this article that Jamie Oliver is in anyway implicated in the AUSVEG call for an ACCC investigation.