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Feature Article - Tasmanian cut flower industry
VALUE OF PRODUCTION
It is extremely difficult to make estimates of the value of production on an annual basis for the floriculture industry. This is because there is no central market structure in Tasmania, information on sales volumes and prices is difficult and expensive to collect, and there are direct sales in the industry.
The appropriate basis for comparison of the floriculture industry value with other industries is the farm gate price (the wholesale price less freight and commission).
Studies have concluded that the wholesale value was about $2 million in 1984-85 rising to about $5 million in 1987-88. The wholesale value in 1991-92 has been calculated to have risen to about $11 million.
Approximately 35% of the wholesale price is directed towards commission and freight (commission, 20% and freight, 15%). Hence, the estimated farm gate value of the floriculture industry in Tasmania for 1991-92 is $7.44 million, a very substantial growth since 1987-88.
NUMBER OF GROWERS
Prior to 1980 the Tasmanian floriculture industry was relatively small with few growers. In 1984, when the first Department of Agriculture survey was undertaken, it was estimated that there were only 20 growers with more than 200 square metres of flower production. This had risen to 90 in 1987 and 165 in 1988.
While there are no directly comparable figures, it would seem that there has been little change in the number of growers in the past few years: a few have left and these have been replaced by new entrants to the industry.
In 1988 it was estimated by the Department of Agriculture that approximately 75% of all flowers grown in Tasmania were directed into the Tasmanian market. Now some 70% of growers send some flowers into mainland markets-most often Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane-although some flowers are directed to other Australian destinations. Only about 10% of commercial growers direct any flowers to export markets. On the other hand, approximately 20% of commercial growers sell only into the Tasmanian market.
There isn’t a centralised wholesale flower market in Tasmania and the distribution of the growers and size of the local market does not lend itself to this form of marketing.
TRENDS IN THE FLOWER INDUSTRY
There has been a major upsurge in the production of Tasmanian cut flowers in the past few years. Perennial gypsophila and freesias have become major crops alongside carnations, roses and chrysanthemums, while flower bulb crops are gaining in importance and tulip, lilium, nerine and alstroemeria as well as freesia plantings have been established.
Proteaceous plants and Australian natives are presently produced on a small scale; however, there are young plantings that have yet to reach production. Some of these crops include kangaroo paw, Christmas bells, waratah, thryptomene, wax flowers and South African proteas.
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