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This website aims to develop case studies of the development of farming practices and attendant transformations of local ecologies of defined blocks of land. Through these biographies of particular plots of land we are developing localised analyses of the wider historical trends in the political economy/ecology of the Northern Rivers.

Go to: Coming to the Northern Rivers | Market changes | Education: SoilCare and TAFE | Soil Health | Community | Land-use and the future of farming |

Market changes

It changed in the 90s probably late 90s. I think it was just a combination of things, more and more avocados were being planted in the country …they were being planted faster than the market was growing. In my personal opinion the managed investment schemes that were going in, they went in in a big way in wine grapes in the south, and there’s a very large avocado property that went in. That was a huge amount of trees going in to a market that probably wasn’t ready for that amount of fruit. We have difficulty exporting because the Queensland Fruit Fly and we don’t have a disinfestation protocol to export to other countries um…from the east coast. For the Mediterranean fruit fly they have that in place on the west coast but for our area that’s an issue.

So that excludes you does it from..?

Mm from exporting, except from certain small markets. We can export to Indonesia and Singapore, we have exported our fruit to Singapore and possibly Malaysia but Japan, really the big markets, the markets where you want to go, the Queensland Fruit Fly is an issue.

So how much volume are we talking about and where do you sell?

Oh here we go again, let me see… it’s so different every year just because of the trees often take a year off and the weather makes a difference so every year is quite different but um… if we say we probably average around … five to seven thousand trays a year. But some of those are bulk boxes actually that’s why it’s a little bit difficult I’ll have to ah… yeah it’s best if I just get the tonnage. It’s definitely commercial quantities but …you know, twenty years ago this was probably an average sized avocado farm now it is a very small avocado farm.

Large compared to those who are doing the sort of farmers’ markets kind of style of thing but small compared to the big investment.

Yeah, yeah.

Right. Is it a difficult place to be, to be in that sort of middle ground between the huge properties and the smaller….?

I think if you were a young farmer you would have to make a decision to either go bigger or go to the local markets. Um… but …because we…we don’t depend on our farm income to …for everything um…this is what makes the difference. If people are depending on their farm income then they wouldn’t be able to survive on local markets.

So you’ve got a bit more freedom than your average …?

Yes it’s a luxury to be able to have a small farm, I think.

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