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Cheap vegetable imports harm Australian growers

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The viability of Australia’s vegetable industry is under threat from cheap imports, according to industry body AUSVEG. Figures show nationally the amount of land sown to vegetables decreased by 12,000 hectares last financial year, resulting in a $159 million drop in the value of the Australian vegetable industry.

In 2014-15 the amount of vegetable-growing operations dropped by 15 per cent.

AUSVEG economist Andrew Kruup said Australia could not compete with imports from countries like China, Italy and the United States.

“During the 2014-15 financial year we saw a 7 per cent increase in foreign imports of vegetable produce, and we believe that this is alarming to the domestic industry, and that it’s one of the causing factors in the reduction of the size of the industry,” Mr Kruup said.

United States, Italy and China are the largest source of imports for Australia, which Mr Kruup said was due to the comparatively lower cost of vegetable production in those countries.