Cropping supply chain geared up despite crisis

Farming supply chain under pressure but coping

Cropping News
KEEP ON TRUCKING: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack.

KEEP ON TRUCKING: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack.

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The farming supply chain is under pressure but the fertiliser, chemical and machinery will continue to move.

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Government and agricultural industry bodies are confident the cropping supply chain will continue to flow, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

While good early rain across key areas of the cropping belt are driving demand, supply slow downs due to COVID-19 could have the potential to derail crop planting if not managed correctly.

Addressing concerns raised by farmers, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said transport and infrastructure ministers from all tiers of government were meeting every few days to ensure freight routes remained open.

"All levels of government are working together, along with industry and regulators such as the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, to ensure any unnecessary barriers to freight movement are minimised," he said.

Minister McCormack said exemptions had already been put in place, ensuring roadhouses, dedicated truck stop facilities and truck driver lounges remained open to service truck drivers.

"In addition, government funding of $198 million for a regional air network assistance package will help maintain critical flights into regional centres, ensuring continued supplies of critical goods and services."

Agriculture will not only carry this nation through the crisis, it will be the bedrock to our recovery - David Littleproud

Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud said the entire primary production supply chain was considered as critical as farming itself.

"That includes the services and suppliers that support the industry, from a vet to mechanic to a tyre fitter," he said.

"Agriculture will not only carry this nation through the crisis, it will be the bedrock to our recovery."

Minister Littleproud assured growers that supply chain logistics were being closely monitored.

"We are continuing to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on the supply chain including at ports.

"Additional departmental biosecurity officers have been placed at the ports to facilitate imports of critical goods."

Off the back of a number of years of severe and devastating drought, agriculture, by and large, in this crisis has fared very well comparative to sectors such as tourism, hospitality and retail - Tony Maher

National Farmers' Federation CEO Tony Maher said the peak body was confident the government understood the need to keep the entire food and fibre supply chain operating.

"However, one of the big challenges we are working though is the states coordinating and agreeing to a consistent approach," he said.

"We have been seeking to ensure farmers have confidence around challenges, such as availability of seed, chemical and fertiliser.

"The government has been willing to partner with industry to ensure the trucks keep moving and logistics across state borders are workable."

Mr Maher said the NFF was continuing to talk to input supply companies, including agricultural chemical, fertiliser and machinery to proactively identify any challenges or roadblocks.

"Off the back of a number of years of severe and devastating drought, agriculture, by and large, in this crisis has fared very well comparative to sectors such as tourism, hospitality and retail," he said.

"With the recent good rains, agriculture is really well placed to not only continue to produce the food and fibre Australia needs, but to help recover from this crisis.

"Agriculture will be a driver of economic development in rural and regional Australia, and if we can keep markets open it will continue to drive economic growth for the country."

The story Cropping supply chain geared up despite crisis first appeared on Farm Online.

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