Feel for farmers

For people who have nine to five jobs and collect wages at the end of each week it can be difficult to comprehend the pressures of running a business.

It can be even harder to comprehend running a business such as a farm where you not only have to deal with the vagaries of fluctuating market demands, you have to deal with an unpredictable physical environment.

So it must be heartbreaking to be an apple or pear grower at the moment to get up every morning and watch a force beyond your control – thousands of hungry birds – descend on your orchards and gobble up whatever slim profits you might have been counting on.

It’s not the birds’ fault, they’re hungry.

Their usual source of food, eucalyptus flowers, are not there.

But that doesn’t help the grower who has poured time and money into what would have been a bumper crop of high quality fruit this year.

As consumers the best we can do is help at the retail end by making a conscious decision to buy SA apples.

Better still go for a drive and buy local apples at the farm gate or farmers market and tell your supermarket or grocer to source local fruit.

Postal problems

Times are tough in the retail business, and that extends from the corner deli to one of the country’s biggest government business enterprises – Australia Post.

Australia Post announced this week that it was putting the price of its stamps up from 60c to 70c in a bid to try and overcome losses in its domestic mail business.

Those losses totalled $147m this year and follow a $114m loss the previous year.

Meanwhile, general stores, delicatessens and other small businesses are disappearing from our country towns as they stop being viable.

Our changing shopping habits and our embrace of the internet are largely responsible for both these trends.

The result is that Hills residents can probably expect to see more rural post office agencies closing in the region in the coming years, particularly as more licensees find the financial returns do not reflect the services provided.

According to Jamie Briggs, the Federal Member for Mayo, a Senate inquiry is currently examining this issue in regional and remote areas.

Those not fortunate enough to enjoy street deliveries will probably find themselves travelling further and paying more to open a post box.