SUPERMARKET giant Coles has sparked a social media storm by promoting imported American
oranges in a Griffith supermarket.
Last week, the store ran a special on imported Navel oranges while local producers have been ripping out the same variety because of weak demand.
Farmers have campaigned time and again for supermarkets to promote local produce over imports – apparently to no avail.
Tharbogang farmer Ninetta O’Connor said she and her husband had to take jobs in other
industries to supplement the income they once derived from Navel oranges.
“The two big supermarkets say they’re supporting local growers but they advertise imported Navels at the expense of Australian Valencia oranges on the shelf,” Mrs O’Connor said.
“We made the decision to give up on Navels after it got to the stage where we couldn’t give them away.
“They are selling bags of five imported oranges for $2.90 and the growers don’t even get 29 cents per tonne, which is why for the last five years so many farmers have just let the oranges drop.”
After Mrs O’Connor’s close friends were forced to walk away from their orange farm she doesn’t let her children touch imported produce, which is why she was shocked to see American oranges on special.
The owner of Rossies Foodworks Tony Jones said he runs a profitable supermarket without resorting to importing produce.
“We’re Australian and need to support Australians, in fact I recently had to tell Foodworks they’d have to make a new catalogue just for Griffith if they wanted to include imported fruit,” Mr Jones said.
“It is viable to source local produce, I pay the grower what they need and add a small percentage.
“Unfortunately, the only people that will support locals is a local because the decisions get made
Coles corporate affairs spokesperson Anna Kelly responded to questions from The Area News
with one sentence.
“Coles now sources an additional 15,000 truckloads of Australian grown fruit and vegetables every year, compared to five years ago,” Ms Kelly said.