The devastating bushfires around Australia have affected many communities and wildlife and had a significant impact on Australian agriculture, including vegetable and potato growers.
While various fires still rage in many areas and the recovery efforts get underway, the nation has banded together in support of those affected through various donations and support.
AUSVEG has been engaged with its State Members and its board of directors to gain an understanding of the damage to the industry, as well as working with government and other industry bodies to ensure support is given to those growers affected.
There are ongoing logistic challenges with getting fresh produce to market and various cold storages are full as a result of road closures and movement of produce remains paramount.
AUSVEG is also aware that a small number of growers have been severely impacted, and will be reaching out to them to see what assistance they may be able to provide.
The Department of Agriculture is also working with various industry bodies to gather data and information on exactly what damage has been done. AUSVEG will continue to work with all relevant stakeholders to provide support information where possible.
Growers impacted and people wanting to support them can head to www.farmhub.org.au ,which lists the latest information from the bushfires as well as support information.
Supermarkets urged to help
Meanwhile, some customers have urged supermarkets in Australia to help starving wildlife amid the bushfire crisis. Social media has been inundated with pleas to donate ‘waste’ fruit and vegetables to starving wildlife. The plea is embedded on a photo of a kangaroo escaping the flames.
In a statement last week, a Coles spokesperson confirmed the supermarket is donating food to help Australia’s wildlife, partnering with Mogo Zoo near NSW’s Batemans Bay and South Australia’s Adelaide Koala and Wildlife Hospital. The spokesperson said Coles had donated 1000kg of sweet potatoes for the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Network, and approximately 33 tonnes of potatoes and carrots and a 45-foot trailer-load of barley straw square bale.
Woolworths and its customers through the Salvation Army have committed more than $3.2 million to bushfire relief.
Many individuals and businesses in New Zealand have also pledged their support.
If you are looking for ways to assist our friends in Australia at this very challenging time, please also consider a donation to Wires Wildlife Rescue https://www.wires.org.au/donate/emergency-fund , or to NSW Rural Fire Service https://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/volunteer/support-your-local-brigade.