WA growers want to sell EMS as value add in the market: by Cameron Weeks, coordinator, Mingenew Irwin Group Inc.

We now have available to our members an EMS based on the international code but with a 'master plan' to help guide a business when adopting an EMS.

The master plan includes lists of typical farm activities that could have an impact on the environment, typical targets, monitoring, management programs, records, etc. Hopefully this will make the adoption of our EMS easier and less costly.

We also see EMS being used to underpin catchment management efforts and to provide proof of efforts to meet catchment targets.

We know premiums for Quality Assurance (QA) are hard to develop and expect premiums for EMS will possibly be even harder. That is, unless we adopt QA and EMS and sell ourselves into the marketplace, which is exactly what we plan to do. To my knowledge there will not be any other growers of grain, meat and wool who could claim to be quality-assured and have in place an auditable EMS in WA.

At this stage more than 20 MIG members are quality-assured (SQF1000/Great Grain) and six MIG members have a draft EMS in place, with a further 12 to be at the same level by the end of 2002. Once we have more growers at such a level we can start testing the marketplace for niches, which may see premiums paid for QA and EMS. Already several marketing organisations have indicated that they would be happy to help.

Program 4 Contact: Mr Cameron Weeks 0427924236 email: weeks@wn.com.au