A new report published bythe Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences
(ABARES) shows that the number of small Australian vegetable farms has reduced
by over 24 per cent in the past 12 months.
“Small business is the engine room of our economy. The lack of a thriving small
business contingent within the vegetable industry can dramatically affect its
long-term sustainability,” said AUSVEG Deputy CEO Andrew White.
AUSVEG is the leading horticultural body representing over 9,000 Australian
vegetable and potato growers.
The report, entitled Australian
vegetable growing farm businesses, an economic survey, 2013-14 and 2014-15
was commissioned by Horticulture Innovation Australia using funds from the
National Vegetable Levy and the Australian Government to conduct an annual
survey of the industry.
“Small business provides jobs for 4.5 million Australians and produces over
$330 billion of Australia’s economic output. Policy tends to be designed
specifically with urban small businesses in mind,” said Mr White.
“The question needs to be asked, what can we do to help battling Australian
small business farmers?”
Survey results suggest that of the bottom 25 per cent of farms, 61 per cent
have indicated that increased farm input costs are the leading impediment to
business viability.

“It is concerning that 13 per cent of farms within this category have said they
may leave the industry within the next 5 years,” said Mr White.

“Smaller sized farms do not have the ability to be able to benefit from
economies of scale in the same way that their larger competitors can. Cost and
price pressures are causing a lot of small business growers to exit the market
The ABARES report provides an in-depth analysis of vegetable farm cash receipts
and costs by both farm size and state of operation.

“The cost to receipts ratio for farms less than 5 hectares in size is $0.86 per
dollar of receipts. This means that for every dollar earned, 86 cents goes
towards paying business costs. This is in contrast to those farms that are
between 20 to 70 hectares in size and hold a cost to receipts ratio of $0.78
per dollar of receipts,” said Mr White.
AUSVEG is committed to working with all industry stakeholders including state
and federal governments, vegetable growers and consumers in order to help
support the long-term sustainability and economic viability of the industry.
The AUSVEG Economics program is funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia
using the National Vegetable Levy and funds from the Australian Government. 

White, AUSVEG Deputy CEO
Phone: (03) 9882 0277, Mobile: 0409 989 575, Email: andrew.white@ausveg.com.au