Another farmer joins revolt against Coles and Woolworths – and reveals why he refuses to work with Australia’s biggest supermarkets

A farmer has called out the major supermarkets for profit-gouging on fruit and vegetables and is refusing to do business with them. 

Shaun Jackson, 62, owner of Daintree Fresh in Lakeland, Far North Queensland, said he now exports most of his melons to Japan to avoid dealing Coles and Woolworths. 

Mr Jackson, who has been growing melons on the Cape York Peninsula for the past seven years, said he no longer traded with the big supermarket chains because ‘I know what they’re like’.

He set up and sized his business so it allows him to go to the ‘good independents’.

Queensland farmer Shaun Jackson has refused to work with supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths

‘I starting growing a few specialty melons and sent them over to Japan, they loved them… Eighty per cent of my products are now going to Japan,’ he told 

The 62-year-old warned Aussie shoppers face a crisis as growers across the nation exit the industry, and predicts shortages and significant price increases. 

‘I guarantee you that people in Australia are going to run down on food,’ he said.

He has spoken with ‘thousands of growers about their experience’ dealing with supermarkets and ‘all of them are too scared to say anything’.

He claimed the supermarkets are ‘holding down’ wholesale prices.

‘The truth is a long time ago the ACCC let two companies own our fuel, our food and our [alcohol] and they own total control,’ he said.

‘They say there’s competition — bulls**t. Coles and Woolworths send their staff around [to each others’ stores] with a little notepad to make note of prices. 

‘They’re manipulating the market. When you own 76 per cent of the food supply, it’s a perfect excuse.’

Mr Jackson said he now sells melons to Japan rather than trade with Coles and Woolworths

Mr Jackson said he now sells melons to Japan rather than trade with Coles and Woolworths 

Mr Jackson accused the supermarket giants of  'holding down' wholesale prices (stock image pictured)

Mr Jackson accused the supermarket giants of  ‘holding down’ wholesale prices (stock image pictured) 

A Woolworths spokesperson told it was ‘hard to address’ Mr Jackson’s claims ‘when we don’t actually have a relationship with this farmer’.

‘It’s not clear what experience these claims are based on,’ she said.

While a Coles spokesperson told the outlet there were ‘many factors that influence the price that customers pay for fresh produce’.

‘As is the case for all fresh produce, the shelf price entails the price we pay our suppliers and additional cost factors such as processing, transport, labour, packaging and other costs associated with getting a product ready to go on shelves for our customers to enjoy,’ they said. 

Earlier this week, a Victorian farmer who has been forced to abandon an 80-acre zucchini crop criticised the supermarket giants and said they need to lower the price of fruit and vegetables.

Ross Marsolino, 61, said shoppers can only afford to buy one or two zucchini instead of a kilo due to the high prices supermarkets sell them for, which diminishes the demand for his produce and makes it nearly impossible for the farmer to make a profit.

His farm, Natural Earth Produce in Shepparton in Victoria’s Goulburn Valley, grows Roma, gourmet tomatoes, zucchini, and eggplants.

‘If they were sold at $2.99 a kilo instead of $4.99 a kilo, everyone would be buying zucchinis. But there’s not enough in returns, he said. 

Victorian farmer Ross Marsolino (pictured) criticised the supermarket giants and said they need to lower the price of fruit and vegetables

Victorian farmer Ross Marsolino (pictured) criticised the supermarket giants and said they need to lower the price of fruit and vegetables

He can no longer afford the costs of picking, packing, and transporting vegetables if he couldn’t make a profit from selling them to major retailers.

‘It hurts me walking away from an 80-acre crop,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.

‘There’s no disease on the crop; it’s lush, it’s growing.’

‘We’re not retailing the right price to be able to keep the product moving and selling. Plain and simple’.

Mr Marsolino said he was packing 1,600 boxes of zucchini a day instead of the usual 6,000 and is only two weeks into harvesting the 80 acres.

‘We’re controlled by what the retail sector sells our product at, that determines whether we keep selling the product or not,’ he said. 

‘This is what is concerning to me; we should be able to service the country with all our produce that we have here. Farmers are just trying to pay their bills.

‘The supermarkets need to be retailing at a fairer number. Plain and simple.”

The farmer has called on the government to introduce a regulatory body to keep an eye on retail prices and question supermarkets over any rises.