Time for organic producer co-ops?
Times are changing for the producers of organic produce. Three years ago only a very limited number of supermarkets sold any organic produce. Today many supermarkets and other chain store outlets stock a quite reasonable range of organic goods both fresh and dry. Wholesalers like Turners & Growers and Fresh Direct are also in on the game. Many of these companies are selling organic produce not because they are concerned for the environment or believe in the principles of organics but because they see there is a dollar to be made. This is both good and bad. Who sets and controls the pricing of produce is discussed and it is recommended that the producers have control of product supply and pricing. Individual farmers and growers can’t do this on their own. It is only by banding together and co-operating that they can succeed. This is not new, nor is it rocket science, quite the opposite in fact. New Zealands agriculture has achieved much of its success thought farmer co-operation on both the selling and purchasing sides of production. It is critical that New Zealand organic producers join together and create a single selling desk immediately before the large wholesalers and retailers gain control of the market and force organic producers to become price takers rather than price givers. The benefits and pitfalls of a national producers co-op is considered.... [Show full abstract]