An anti-competitive environment is impacting the supply chain

Tuesday, 25 January, 2022

An anti-competitive environment is impacting the supply chain

NSW Farmers has lamented what it sees as an anti-competitive tinge to the market and has argued that it may have led to some Australia Day shortcomings for the state, as people struggle to find adequate stocks of food. Adding insult to injury is the fact that COVID-19 continues to affect the supply chain also.

“COVID is hitting everyone, but vulnerabilities in our food supply chains are particularly concerning,” said NSW Farmers President James Jackson.

“Farmers are telling us there are bottlenecks in the meat industry because of a shortage of rapid antigen tests, combined with changing rules around isolation, which is a real headache for processors.

“Of course we don’t want people working while sick or infectious, and we need to avoid any further disruptions to the system at this time, but long term this situation cannot continue as is.”

Exacerbating this is a consolidatory culture of corporate mergers and buyouts, leading to a small number of major players who have a stronghold on the market. NSW Farmers suggests that this is leading to problems for consumers because when the supply chains of these large groups are impacted so too is the availability of food.

Having more competition and reducing the reliance on a select few retailers for the provision of fresh food would prevent this sort of problem occurring in the first place, NSW Farmers said.

“We have seen independent supply chains avoid the worst of the squeeze here in Australia; surely better competition would deliver better results for consumers,” Jackson said.

“What we need is a two-pronged approach: more RATs today to get things moving and real competition reform tomorrow to make sure this never happens again.”

Image credit: © Saracco

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