The Western Australian Farmers Federation (Inc.) (WAFarmers) says floating the CBH Group (CBH) as a public company will not assist Western Australian growers, both in the short and long term.
WAFarmers Grain Section President, Kim Simpson, said selling off CBH would be the worst kind of reaction to the current hardships we are facing.
“CBH is an organisation which is actually working to provide us with the best service possible at the least cost to growers. The grain industry has evolved over time and so has the cooperative. It is a modern business meeting the needs of growers,” Mr Simpson said.
“The immediate impact of any corporatisation of CBH would potentially see $30 per tonne added onto growers’ freight costs and in a time when the cost-price squeeze is a major factor in farm businesses, corporatising CBH will put more pressure on farm budgets.
“There would, of course, be a short term gain, however those people left in the industry, in a lot of cases, our sons and daughters, would be paying that back many times over for the rest of their farming lives,” Mr Simpson said.
“Growers from other states are envious of our storage and handling system. We are, on average, receiving $20 to $40 a tonne in savings for every tonne we put through CBH and when you compare that to what our fellow grain growers in other states are forced to pay, there is a clear benefit to the cooperative structure.
“The alternative corporatised company would be providing, at best, an adequate service for the greatest possible return to shareholders, therefore a cost to growers.
“I would urge all growers to consider very carefully what the cost will be to the future of the agricultural industry in this state before they opt for any quick fix solutions involving CBH,” Mr Simpson concluded.