NOTICE: Hard copies of the Australian New Crops Newsletter are available from the publisher, Dr Rob Fletcher. Details of availability are included in theAdvice on Publications Available.
By Kerrie Heit
Bean Growers Australia
PO Box 328
Kingaroy, Qld 4610
When developing new untried crops, two factors are paramount:
The 'catch 22' syndrome arises because the market says:
'we want your product but we need it a certain price and quality, and continuity of supply must be guaranteed', while the growers say 'we would like to grow the product but it has to be at this price and quality and according to a specific production schedule'.
Invariably, the wants, needs and demands of the market place rarely match the wants, needs and demands of the growers. In many cases, this impasse is never resolved and many potential opportunities fail to reach fruition because of this.
However, this 'catch 22' impasse can be broken by either:
My experience has been that the second scenario is the one that occurs most commonly in real life. The hardest step for facilitating agents is to get both parties talking. If there is a genuine desire on the part of both producers and the market place to develop new crops to meet market needs, then there is some hope that the enterprise will succeed in the long-term.
New crop development involves a high degree of risk which must be shared by all parties. Also, it must be realised by all involved that there can be a considerable lag period, even as long as ten years, from the commencement to the commercialisation of such projects.
The experience obtained during the development of a domestic culinary bean industry can well illustrate the importance of the principles mentioned above. Culinary beans comprise a group of beans of the species Phaseolus vulgaris which exhibit a wide range of seed sizes and testa colours and are used in a variety of culinary dishes.
Initially, there was agreement and a long-term commitment by all parties to the project. It was agreed that the risk would be shared between the market (Australian Canners and Packagers), the growers and the facilitating agent (Bean Growers Australia). The project has subsequently been mainly driven by the facilitating agent and this will probably continue to be the case The facilitating agent has supplied all of the infrastructure which could not or would not be provided by other stakeholders. The infrastructure provided to date by Beangrowers Australia has included:
It is, however, rare to find organisations which can, and will, commit the considerable resources required for new crop development, especially when returns in the initial stages can be quite small or losses may even be incurred. Also, these resources may have to be committed at a number of production locations throughout Australia.
The development of a domestic culinary industry has now been going for some ten years and significant progress has been made. Developments include the following:
The lessons which we have learnt during the past decade include:
The development of new crops is very exciting and challenging and there are many opportunities awaiting the brave and the adventurous. However, it is necessary to proceed with a clear awareness of the risks and difficulties and to be prepared for the long-term focussed commitment that is necessary to achieve final success.
Any claims made by authors in the Australian New Crops Newsletter are presented by the Editors in good faith. Readers would be wise to critically examine the circumstances associated with any claims to determine the applicability of such claims to their specific set of circumstances. This material can be reproduced, with the provision that the source and the author (or editors, if applicable) are acknowledged and the use is for information or educational purposes. Contact with the original author is probably wise since the material may require updating or amendment if used in other publications. Material sourced from the Australian New Crops Newsletter cannot be used out of context or for commercial purposes not related to its original purpose in the newsletter
Contact: Dr Rob Fletcher, School of Land and Food, The University of Queensland Gatton College, 4345; Telephone: 07 5460 1311 or 07 5460 1301; Facsimile: 07 5460 1112; International facsimile: 61 7 5460 1112; Email:email@example.com
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originally created by:GK; latest update 6 June 1999 by: RF