Costs of imports

SUNSHINE Coast farmers are feeling the pinch as cheaper overseas imports continue to flood the market.

The problem mirrors a trend nationally that has caused one in four vegetable growers to pull out of the industry or go broke because they can't compete with the lower production costs - including wages - of overseas producers.

The importation of processed fruit and vegetables is now worth $1.5 billion a year - a rise of almost 60% in seven years, according to Federal Government data.

Diddillibah resident David Mathieson, who used to grow beans, beetroot, lettuce and zucchini, says he pulled out of farming about three years ago due to rising costs and competition.

Rhonda Hammer, a former sales agent for several organic Sunshine Coast farms, says the problem has impacted a number of farmers she knows.

As a result, she is no longer involved in the industry.

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