Truckloads of avocados are now being dumped in rubbish tips by Australian farmers amid surging food prices. It’s alleged COVID lockdowns created a massive surplus of the vegetable, and due to restrictions, restaurants were only permitted to sell less smashed avocado toast.
Jim Kochi, a local farmer, told of how producers in the region started planting more avocado trees in the last decade as demand from hipsters increased.
“Those trees are now coming into production – and coming into production in a big way. The cost of putting that stuff in a package, including the labor and the cost of packaging, and the cost of transport, is just not worthwhile. So the option is just to dump it,” Kochi told Seven News. Queensland-based Jan De Lai has since shared photos of the discarded avocados with the internet.
Lai stumbled upon thousands of them dumped at her local tip and captioned her post: “Truckloads of avocados are being dumped in Atherton! Surely they could be used for animal fodder or used to make oil? Poor farmers.”
Ben Fordham, the host of 2GB Radio, has also weighed in on the subject matter. He explained it was cheaper for farmers to throw the vegetables away than to send them to shops for sales. Ben equally shared the heartbreaking photo on his Facebook page and wrote: “Increasing labor and shipping costs mean it’s not worth their while to pack and send the stock. Chucking them out is the cheapest and easiest option.”
Ben’s viewpoint doesn’t seem to sit well with many Australians as they were shocked to see the avocados go to waste, especially as food prices soar.
Rachel Anne Bendelle wrote: “Happens with every season, in summer, it’s strawberries. No one should be going hungry in this country with the amount of food that is overproduced and wasted. We need to stop importing fresh produce from other countries and learn to eat what is grown seasonally and available here like we used to.” Another, identified as Deena Currie, wrote: “Unbelievable the amount of food waste that happens. Certainly is heartbreaking when there are people going hungry.”
Lisa Murden added: “This is what happens when farmers are forced to sign contracts with big chain supermarkets to survive & then the supermarket chain doesn’t want your produce.
So far, the cost of food is predicted by Australia’s major supermarkets to soar by more than 12%. Ben Gilbert, a retail analyst at investment bank Jarden, reportedly said the price increases at supermarkets would be large as inflation continues to soar. Supermarkets have also admitted they’ve been forced to pass rising costs on to customers and warned that it would only worsen. Accordingly, nutritionists fear the situation will be detrimental to health as families struggling turn to cheaper junk food.