Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud says Australia’s food production and supply chain will not be affected by the coronavirus shutdowns.

This includes the movement of grapes and wine.

Australian Grape & Wine says, “David Littleproud has been regularly meeting with the agriculture industries by telephone.

“Our most recent hook-up was today (Wednesday) where the Minister made it very clear that the agriculture industries, including wine, were classed as essential – that the movement of labour, freight and supply of inputs for these sectors would be maintained in the COVID-19 crisis.

“Agriculture was seen not only as essential to provide food during the crisis, but also as an important part of the recovery process.

“The state of the vintage situation in Australia is clearly understood, and with this, the need to keep grapes being harvested and processing plants operating.”

Mr Littleproud says, “The Commonwealth is guaranteeing food production and supply as we deal with the virus’s spread.

“I am in constant dialogue with farming groups, the States, supermarkets and my department to make sure there’s food on the table for all Australians.

“As far as the Commonwealth is concerned, food production and supply is an essential service.

“Feeding our nation is an essential service.

“That means State-imposed border shutdowns will not affect agricultural supply chains.

“The trucks carrying food and produce will get through to the shops.

“Feed, hay, fertiliser and other agriculture products will continue being delivered to farms.”

Mr Littleproud says Australia has plenty of supply and the freight lanes across the country are being kept clear.

“Australians can be assured that their farmers will be able to keep producing the great food they’re renowned for the world over,” he says.

“This food will arrive fresh and on time at their local supermarket the same as it’s always done but they don’t need added pressure on senseless hoarding. Australians should stay calm and know Australian agriculture will be there for them.

“Maintaining food production, access to workers, agricultural supply lines, transportation and logistics is absolutely critical and will not be affected by any of the measures aimed at curbing the virus’s spread.”

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