Tasmanian farmers continue on their journey to Canberra to protest McDonald’s move to source more potatoes from a company which is expected to source them from New Zealand. The ABC has the best on going coverage of this story.
It’s easy to support the farmers and call on McDonalds to reverse their decision. The challenge is how far do we go? The allied push by farmers and those associated with to have supermarkets and other outlets clearly label the country of origin of product is a good step. However, what about our own decisions? Do we spend more on a pack of photocopy paper from Australia as opposed to imported paper which sells for 30% less? There has to be an economic reason for spending more and the photocopy paper example is complex.
I can’t help but think that governments can play a role here. Certainly on the labeling front. But also in terms of promoting local. gee if they spent as much on that as they do promoting political (policy) initiatives such as health and industrial relations changes maybe more consumers would vote with their pocket book.
Consumers don’t know why they should buy Australian, especially when it costs more. The message needs to be simple and it needs to illustrate an economic imperative of purchasing product, especially produce, from another country. That campaign might help people also understand the implications of the McDonalds decision.