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Coles to match customer donations as farmers plead for help

bigstock--195180823Supermarket giant Coles has announced that for the month of August it will match customers drought donations dollar for dollar to help Aussie farming communities.

The combined donations will be provided to the Country Women’s Association to help drought-affected families cover household expenses including food, medical, electricity and water bills.

Earlier this month, Coles pledged $5 million in grants or interest-free loans from the Coles Nurture Fund for farmers who have a project which will help them to combat drought in the future.

Coles managing director John Durkan said in a statement today that every donation makes a difference.

“We know our customers want to do more to support families affected by drought. For every donation no matter how big or small, our customers can be assured they will be making a difference to the rural communities experiencing hardship and distress,” he said.

Coles is also supporting its grass-fed beef suppliers by buying their livestock as grain-fed beef in cases where the farmers have been forced to feed grain to their cattle during the drought.

Woolworths and ALDI are also supporting Australian farmers affected by the drought through their own fundraising initiatives.

Government action needed

Today, NSW was declared 100 per cent in drought and farmers are calling for urgent government action to protect the long-term sustainability of the agricultural industry.

According to the NSW Department of Primary Industries, 61 per cent of NSW is either in drought or intense drought while nearly 39 per cent is drought affected.

Molong sheep and cattle farmer Robert Lee said in a statement today that farmers are in  “uncharted territory”.

“This drought and change in weather patterns doesn’t just have short-term impacts but a flow-on effect. The security of supplementary feed supply is going to be a big issue in coming months, with widespread crop failures across the eastern states,” he said.

“Immediate relief is important, but won’t help us in the long-term. We also need government to recognise the severity of the drought our farmers are facing on the ground and link it to bigger picture and how we can adapt and mitigate to this increasing risk,” he added.

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