Price Exchange GroupBackground
The price exchange group was set up in response to a strong demand from the growers in the network. Providing price information was aimed to allow growers to achieve the following objectives:
- Benchmark the prices they obtain;
- Track price trends so they can determine production budgets and time sales accurately;
- Help address downward prices pressures through having an indication of the difference between ex-farm and retail prices;
- Achieve an indication of demand and supply balances;
- Achieve an indication of the differences between ex-farm prices through different outlets.
Currently there is no provision for price information of organic vegetables as there is in the conventional sector. Therefore a mini pilot, price exchange group was set up in within the network to test the logistics of running such a group.
Growers were faxed or emailed a reminder on Thursday. Farm gate prices for each vegetable were entered onto the form and returned by Friday morning. These were collated and presented as averages and ranges, plus an indication as to whether there was a rise or fall from the previous week. Wholesale and supermarket retail prices were also collated from websites and presented. Information was then either faxed out or emailed to the growers.
- The price exchange group proved very popular with growers requesting to continue the group beyond the duration of the project.
- Fax proved more popular as a means of communication than email, presumably because it is much quicker for a grower to send a fax than switch on a computer and connect to the internet.
- Some growers regularly supplied information without prompting. Others would only supply information if phoned up and asked for it. This was time consuming and would not be realistic to do if the group was operated on a larger scale.
The data obtained also allowed tracking of price trends over the season. Some small scale fluctuations occurred due to the small sample: if one grower was unable to be contacted, this would have a significant effect on the average weekly price.In early potatoes, there was a downward trend in the wholesale price through June and July. Supermarket prices rose in September. In leeks, wholesale prices showed a drop in July, marking the switch from imported to UK produce. This price drop did not occur in the supermarkets.
Data obtained also, allowed a comparison of the mark ups obtained for the different vegetable types and sectors:
Price mark up for different vegetables (%)