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New Crops Info

Supported by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation

The ten points

(for individual counselling)

 

If you feel you would like to start producing a crop which is a little unusual, the answers to the following questions may make the planning easier.
These ten points evolved over several years in response to telephone enquiries which took the form: “I have some land and some time; what is the new crop of the future?”

The ten points have been used by individuals in the initial planning stages of a new crop adventure; what should I do first?
They were also used in the early stages of the DOOR Marketing short course.

 

 

1.  Are you a contented person?

 

Happy are those who dream dreams and are willing to pay the price to make them come true.

 

If ignorance is bliss, why aren’t there more happy people?

 

A man of action forced into a state of thought is unhappy until he can get out of it.

 

If you answered yes, proceed to the next question. 

 

If you answered no, then new crops will probably not be the answer to your current problems. 
If your children are currently starving, then copy what the neighbour is doing. 
New crops are a long-term, high risk gamble. 
We should only gamble what we can afford to lose.

 

2.  What type of interest do you have in new crops?

 

The gambling known as business looks with austere disfavour upon the business known as gambling.

(Ambrose Bierce)

 

The secret of business is to know something nobody else knows. 

(Aristotle Onassis)

 

If the new crop is to be a business, it should be approached as such. 
If the new crop product is to be sold for a profit, then commercial business principles should apply.
Proceed to the next question.

 

If the new crop is a hobby, then don’t be surprised if it does not produce a profit for you. 

 

3.  What do you enjoy doing?

 

True enjoyment comes from activity of the mind and exercise of the body; the two are ever united. 

(Humboldt)

 

If you can’t learn to do it well, you should learn to enjoy doing it badly. 

(Ashleigh’s First Law)

 

Never wrestle with pigs.  You get dirty and they enjoy it.

 

If you do enjoy or expect you would enjoy producing the new crop product, then proceed to the next question.

 

If you have no experience in the type of crop you are contemplating then you may not enjoy working with the new crop and its product. 
We should be careful about embarking on a business which is physically different from what we are accustomed to, without a period for getting accustomed to the new style of work. 
For example, tree crops are very different from high-intensity horticultural crops; large scale cereals are different from aquaculture, etc.

 

4.  Have you chosen a new crop that you are willing to commit yourself to, financially?

 

The quality of a peron’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavour. 

(Vincent Lombardi)

 

If you have, then proceed to the next question.

 

If you have not, then perhaps the choice is wrong. 
There are many ways to find out about other new crops:

 

5.  If you have decided upon a new crop, do you have easy and free access to plants and information about the new crop?

 

Information is the currency of democracy.

 

If you answered yes, proceed to the next question.

 

If you need to pay for access to plants or information, don’t proceed until you have considered why you are spending the money. 
Many new crop scams arise from the sale of plants or information. 
If you are developing a new crop yourself, are you relying on someone else’s original germplasm or information?. 
If so, do you have a right to it or will any returns need to be shared?

 

6.  Can you describe the new crop product to be sold?

 

It is not the employer who pays wages—he only handles the money.  It is the product that pays wages.

 

If you can describe the product accurately, proceed to the next question.

 

If you are unable to describe the product accurately, then its marketability cannot yet be determined. 
Although you may have been impressed by the large number of possible products from a new crop, there is a need to focus upon products individually to determine their marketability.

 

7.  What is the marketability of the new crop product?

 

Can I sell the new crop product?

How can I get it to market?

Who will get in my way?

How can I improve my information? 

(Tony Sadler, 1997)

 

If you can answer these questions, proceed to the next question.

 

If these questions cannot be answered, the following need to be investigated:

 

Is the new crop product currently traded here or overseas?

Where are the existing markets for the product?

What type of markets are these, in terms of size?

What is the product used for, leading to identification of substitutes for the product and the nature of the substitution?

Where is the target market for the intended new product?

Is it possible to estimate the possible market price, taking into account the possible prices of substitutes, and import/export prices?

Are there any limitations imposed by the market?

What packaging is required and is there a distribution mechanism available?

What is the estimated future demand (taking into account economic and demographic factors and factors which may affect this demand)?

What promotional strategies will be required?

 

These are the kinds of questions which arise during the DOOR Marketing short course.

 

8.  Will the new crop grow in your area?

 

Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth. 

(John F. Kennedy)

 

If the answer is yes, proceed to the next question, but do not commence large scale plantings.

 

If this information is not clear, consider where the crop normally grows and its similarity with this type of environment. 
Large scale trials should not be encouraged at this stage.

 

9.  Are you contemplating forming a group to grow and market the new crop product?

 

Individual commitment to a group effort—that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilisation work.

 

If the answer is yes, ensure that the group includes plenty of inspired producers, interested processors if the product is to be processed in any way, distribution agents and marketing experts, along with any researchers who are willing to help on your terms.

 

If the answer is no, consider the fact that production, marketing and financial management expertise are all required if a new crop business is to be successful.

 

10. Have you formed a group already?

 

My grandfather once told me that there are two kinds of people: those who work and those who take the credit. 

He told me to try to be in the first group, there was less competition there. 

(Indira Gandhi)

 

If the answer is yes, has your group done the following:

 

Reached agreement about resource requirements, expected outcomes, action plans to achieve them, and distribution of any profits,

Established a process for project monitoring to identify and resolve problems quickly and efficiently,

Established economic benchmarks and an agreement to abandon the project once these have not been met, and

Established a system of review to place on record the circumstances under which the project was successful or failed?

 

If the answer is no, consider how you will handle all these matters, if you are hoping to be commercially successful.

 

Have you answered yes to all the above? 
Consider the commencement of trials:

 

Trial production for trial marketing,

Trial production for trial processing and packaging and

Experimental production using randomised, replicated trials on prospective sites.

 

Summary

 

Many new crop initiatives in the past have commenced with proposals to conduct regional trials (plantings in a range of diverse environments). 
Such activities attract funding and publicity for a potential new crop industry. 
For the industry to be successful, however, the germplasm included in trials and the location and management of such trials needs to be determined by the marketable product of the new crop.  The ten points for planning focus on the nature of the new crop to be commercialised and the people doing it.

 


Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC)

RIRDC New and Developing Plant Industries:
(publications and reports)

RIRDC New Crop Industries Handbook
(530 pages pdf download)

RIRDC essential oils, tea tree oil, wildflowers and natives, bioenergy, organic farming


All information is included in good faith but this website does not warrant or guarantee the accuracy of any information on these pages, nor does the website accept responsibility for any loss arising from the use of this information.  It is wise to question all things.  Views and opinions are those of the individual authors.  Every effort has been made to respect copyright owners' rights. 


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Latest update 30 June 2014 by: ANCW