Rising input costs are the biggest threat to the future of Australian vegetable growers, according to grower responses released by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES). 

A staggering 80 per cent of vegetable growers have reported that increasing costs of production are the largest threat to their future viability. 
“These results come as no surprise to the vegetable industry. Australian vegetable growers have been suffering due to rising input costs, especially electricity prices, for some time,” said Mr Kurt Hermann, AUSVEG, spokesperson.
In 2012-13, hired labour is estimated to have been the largest production cost, followed by contracts paid, fertiliser, seed, and fuel, oil and grease. Moreover, it is estimated that electricity prices will increase by 13 per cent from 2011-12.
“Many vegetable growers have already implemented and exhausted potential productivity improvements. As such, reducing operating costs, which are generally out of growers’ control, is essential to ensuring the future viability of the vegetable industry,” said Mr Hermann.
AUSVEG is the leading voice in Australian horticulture, representing 9,000 vegetable and potato growers.
“The ABARES results show that most vegetable growers believe that they are operating as productively as possible. As such, if operating costs continue to increase, this is likely to reduce returns for growers,” said Mr Hermann.
“Those vegetable growers that indicated they could improve productivity, noted higher yielding crop varieties as the key to improving their productivity,” said Mr Hermann.
“Whilst planting higher yielding crop varieties could lead to productivity improvements, this may not be possible for many growers,” said Mr Hermann.
“Apart from rising input costs, more than 50 per cent of vegetable growers identified low prices and increased marketing costs as alternative impediments to future business viability,” said Mr Hermann. 
MEDIA CONTACT: Kurt Hermann, AUSVEG spokesperson, AUSVEG.
Phone: (03) 9882 0277 Mobile: 0421 007 510 E-mail: kurt.hermann@ausveg.com.au