Or­ganic farm­ers set to earn more

Re­search pre­dicts a steady in­crease in rev­enue for free-range and or­ganic pro­duce farm­ers

Farms & Farm Machinery - - Contents -

Or­ganic crop, poul­try and free-range egg farm­ers are ben­e­fit­ing from a more health-con­scious so­ci­ety will­ing to spend ex­tra for their goods, ac­cord­ing to IBIS­World.

As de­mand for or­ganic pro­duce in­creases, over­all fruit and vegetable con­sump­tion has also risen, sug­gest­ing Aus­tralians have be­come in­creas­ingly aware of their health over the past few years.

At the same time, na­tional smok­ing rates and al­co­hol con­sump­tion lev­els are down.

Rev­enue from or­ganic crops is ex­pected to rise 4.3 per cent through 2016-17 to $209.6 mil­lion, while rev­enue for poul­try farm­ers is ex­pected to grow 4.5 per cent over the same pe­riod to $535.8 mil­lion.

Free-range eggs have seen a spike in de­mand af­ter an­i­mal wel­fare was brought into the spot­light last year, with an ex­pected rev­enue in­crease of 4.9 per cent.

Free-range eggs are ex­pected to ac­count for 51 per cent of rev­enue and 40 per cent of pro­duc­tion in 2016-17, while or­ganic eggs are es­ti­mated to make up 1.5 per cent of rev­enue and 1 per cent of pro­duc­tion.

Part of the push for free-range eggs from con­sumers arose from the lack of le­gal def­i­ni­tion of the term ‘free-range’. In March 2016, the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment in­tro­duced a re­quire­ment for free-range pro­duc­ers to ad­here to a max­i­mum stock­ing den­sity of 10,000 birds per hectare.

For a short time af­ter this, de­mand out­stripped sup­ply as farm­ers changed their prac­tices to fall within the new reg­u­la­tions.

Over­all, or­ganic food is still a small por­tion of Aus­tralia’s to­tal pro­duc­tion at less than 5 per cent by vol­ume, but is ex­pected to ex­pand as health and an­i­mal wel­fare con­cerns drive up de­mand.

Rev­enue for egg farm­ers is pro­jected to rise 3 per cent each year over the five years through 2021-22 to $872.8 mil­lion, as grow­ing con­sump­tion of free-range and or­ganic eggs at­tracts higher prices than cage and barn-laid eggs.

Ear­lier in 2016, the Aus­tralian Egg Cor­po­ra­tion crit­i­cised Aldi for its de­ci­sion to phase out cage eggs from its stores.

De­spite this, and in line with cur­rent trends, many con­sumers wel­comed the de­ci­sion.

At the same time, An­i­mals Aus­tralia cam­paign di­rec­tor Lyn White said all an­i­mal pro­tec­tion groups were united in their call for the bat­tery cage to be phased out by all su­per­mar­kets.

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