Rising costs to hurt farmers
Narrow margins make it tough for primary producers to survive
MANY North Burnett primary producers are facing rising input costs and little or no increase in returns.
It is feared looming increases in electricity and irrigation costs will narrow the survival margins further. The State Government’s 10% cap on electricity price increases is recognition of problems being faced by primary producers but Growcom has its reservations.
“The 10% cap on the electricity tariff increases is a bit of a decoy,” policy manager David Putland said. “While it’s an improvement over the QCA proposal, it’s still a hefty increase that growers can’t afford, and it only applies to the transitional irrigation tariffs so other tariffs will still increase around 20%
Grape producer Sue Allan
... the problem is that the producers here aren’t getting enough for their product at the farm gate.
next financial year.”
Many rural families were also affected by the flood and are being urged by their representative bodies to contact their local member to lobby for an extension to the August 30 deadline for applications for disaster grants. People are struggling to meet the deadline because there is more work to be done than there are contractors to do the jobs.
Grape producers Sue and Chris Allan of Mundubbera are seeking solutions. “Any primary producer will tell you they do not get much more for their product now than 10 years ago,” Mrs Allan said.
“Return fluctuations occur seasonally, which help if they are higher returns, but the average over time is usually bordering on less than the cost of production.
“One good idea I saw recently put forward was for the farm gate price to be displayed beside the retail price in store so the consumer could see where the mark up comes from.
“Benchmarking cost of production is another tool which most industries are engaging in now.
“This highlights sections of your business which may not be viable.
“I think people are prepared to pay for what they want, but the problem is that the producers here aren’t getting enough for their product at the farm gate.”