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31 January 2018: A garlic-growers co-op, formed through the national Farming Together program, has just dispatched its largest-ever bulk order, at prices more than double the prevailing wholesale price.

The Braidwood Garlic Growers delivered the 100kg consignment to a Newcastle-based processor. It was a deal that netted $22/kg at a time when the Sydney wholesale market price was $10/kg.

There are orders for a 50kg consignment and another for 20kg, meaning that the group has sold out its first season’s production.

Helen Lynch, from the group’s working party, said the deal would never have happened had the group not formed themselves into a co-op.  She added that the 12 non-growing members of the 26-member co-op will now come into full production for next season’s harvest as a result of the demand and the group’s capacity to sell.

“Also, the co-op structure meant we could apply new criteria to our produce – the size, the trim – and that lifted our overall quality,” she said.

And, working collaboratively, the group organised cost-efficient transport to deliver the consignment to the processor, who has already put in another order.

“We could never have achieved all this before,” Helen said. “The co-op structure has lifted our game.”

The group has developed its co-op with the help of $60,000 of support from Farming Together, an Australian Government-back initiative.

Farming Together program director Lorraine Gordon said: “This is an exciting opening season for the Braidwood garlic co-op and it’s an important step towards import replacement. Australia currently imports about 15,000 tonnes of garlic annually. Only 20% of garlic sold in Australia is locally grown.”

Another round of Farming Together expert advice opens on February 1 and closes on 31 March, 2018.

Ms Gordon said: “We are looking for cutting-edge, legacy-building projects that encourage transferable knowledge, with the capacity to change the face of your industry. Our proven ag-consultants can assist to advance your projects through legal advice, appropriate business structures and strategies, raising capital, logistics/supply chain management, exporting, e-commerce such as trading platforms, facilitation, compliance and quality assurance, just to name a few.” The support is available to groups of two or more non-related Australian farmers registered under ATO guidelines. Go to www.farmingtogether.com.au, click the green button and fill in the super-easy form.  It only takes 15 minutes and then you’re on your way.

Pictured: Some of the co-op members prepare to handle the bulk order.