The success of the last 250 years in western economies is based on the economies of scale. Harnessing technology to deliver greater productivity per unit of input, capital, labour, and raw material.
All industries have been disrupted from the cottage stage to industrial, and the change has spawned industries unimaginable even to our fathers.
Agriculture has been no different, “factory farming” is the standard, even it is it still outside in a paddock.
It now would appear to me that there are the beginnings of a reverse disruption, accompanied and enabled by the removal of organisational and arbitrage barriers enabled by the web. Words and phrases like “Local” “sustainability ” fresh” “product provenance” and “demand driven” keep on coming through. A small but increasing number of consumers are seeking out products that deliver these promises, and a few specialist retailers are suddenly seeing the emergence of a consumer group who will not be seduced by the giant retail chains.
A semantic disruption?
Agriculture in the Sydney basin has been under pressure from development for the last 50 years, and with some exceptions concentrated in intensive industries, has become increasingly marginal. There is not much left to meet the demands of this consumer driven semantic disruption as it evolves. However, those who are left, both producers and specialist retailers, have an opportunity to alter their business to leverage the emerging disruption.