’Subsidies to help combat the high price of hail netting would assist fruit growers with frost protection, water savings and limb rub.
The benefits of the expensive fruit protection were discussed by Goulburn Valley Fruit Growers and Victorian Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh last week.
Mr Walsh visited Dasha Sherif’s hailstorm damaged orchard in Lemnos on Thursday, December 3 at the invitation of Member for Northern Victoria Wendy Lovell.
Some growers raised their concern at the expensive price of netting and said some netting cost about $30000 a hectare.
Mr Walsh suggested farmers and industry bodies work together with the Victorian Government to achieve a long-term plan for fruit protection.
‘‘I’d like to see the industry develop a proposal, I think that’s the best way,’’ Mr Walsh said.
‘‘Justify why not only the benefits from a hail point of view, but the benefits for fruit quality, better water utilisation, all the other tree husbandry benefits you could get out of it and put together a package and come back to government with it.’’
Some farmers were skeptical towards marketing campaigns designed to sell the damaged fruit and said consumers who purchased products from programs like The Odd Bunch and Hailstorm Heroes were only looking for fruit with minor damage.
Mr Sherif said people wanted glamour fruit and were willing to pay the price to obtain it.
Fruit growers seeking financial assistance were urged to apply for the Farm Household Allowance to help with the cost of living.