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Australian growers ready to meet rise in fresh produce demand

There could be cautiously good news to the current COVID-19 situation, with many growers hoping Australian consumers will up their intakes of vegetables, nuts, fruit and herbs.

Bushfires, drought conditions and the coronavirus pandemic have met to create in increase in immediate demand, according to NSW fresh produce peak industry body, Freshmark.

The organisation said the closure of restaurants and cafés, along with many Australians having to stay at home, has placed increasing pressure on the fresh produce industry to meet in-house consumption.

Freshmark chief executive officer, James Kellaway, told that the current insatiable consuming market was putting unnecessary pressures on supply and demand that is impacting staple fresh produce lines. "Australia's fruit and vegetable sector's focus is to ensure consumers can maintain a healthy, balanced diet with ease of access to fresh fruit and vegetables. In light of this, farmers and their wholesaling agents are doing their utmost to keep fresh produce flowing to local independent greengrocers to minimise disruptions to supply. Together with its members, Freshmark have been closely monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak to ensure the necessary measures are being taken to maintain an uninterrupted supply of high-quality fresh produce to greengrocers."

NSW Farmers' vice president, Chris Groves said farmers in NSW and across the country are busy doing what they do best- producing local food and fibre. "The hens are still laying eggs, the dairy cows are still being milked, grain growers are preparing winter crops, orchards are still bearing fruit and Australian farmers are still producing the world's best produce," he said.

"This unprecedented event will have an impact on our export markets, which take around 75 per cent of what farmers produce, but Australians can be assured that there will be more than enough food for them."

The Queensland Horticulture Council has reassured customers that a steady stream of fresh fruits and vegetables will keep appearing on shelves.

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