As everyone is aware, drought is tough on our farmers. In the Millennium drought, the agricultural workforce halved and with the percentage of family-run farms halving since the 70’s (Financial Review, Farm Institute).
From a financial point of view, that’s $1.1b of lost profits every year, averaging $18,000 / farm (The Guardian)!
In Australia, only 1/3rd of broad-acre farms have a succession plan (ABC Rural), so even if they make it through droughts and tough times, the continuation of farms remains uncertain.
With the addition of climate change, the severity and frequency of drought and other challenging weather patterns, it is hard to predict the future of Australian farming. Will family farms remain or will they all be out-competed by big commercialised farms?
Unfortunately, the prolonged droughts and competition with commercial, large scale producers, has meant that Barrow Olives (one of our first Aussie suppliers) has had to sell to new owners and are not able to guarantee any supply for the upcoming season. We will keep Barrow Olives profile live but take down the availability of their products until further notice.
Barrow Olives are one of thousands of farmers being affected by factors out of their control. Supporting local is more than just buying Australian made; its about buying from the underdogs that are struggling to compete with the competitors selling products at lower margins. So sometimes the prices from our local suppliers might be high, such as the cocoa butter we source in Fiji, which is 3x market price, but buyers continue to purchase as they know they are helping their local community.
Supporting local communities is about giving back to our farmers during the easy and hard times, to help guarantee a future for family-run farms.
If you want to read more about the effects of drought on our Aussie Farmers, have a read of the Guardians article, ABC and ABS covers the changes in farm sizes or examples of family-run farms being sold and why in The Financial Review articles.