VALUE ADDING - How To Add Value to Your Produce! 

By processing farm produce, partially or fully, before it is sold, a farmer can increase the price which that produce is sold for. This is an increasingly important way to increase the profitability of a farm.

Typical examples of value added products include:

  • Jams, preserves, chutneys and sauces produced from raw fruits.
  • Cheese, yoghurt and butter produced from milk (including cattle, sheep and goats milk)
  • Leather produced from animal hides - this can be further processed to create leather goods, adding significantly to its value.
  • Grapes (or other fruit) dried (to produce dried fruit), crushed (to produce juice) or fermented (to produce alcoholic beverages).
  • Cut flowers dried, pressed or treated in some other way to produce longer lasting products.
  • Herb crafts, dried herbs, essential oils, produced from fresh herbs.
  • Wool/fleece from various animals (e.g. sheep, goats, alpacas), or plant fibre, can be spun and used to make yarn, fabric, clothing or blankets, etc.
  • Oil extraction from plant or animal products.

Value adding may make you subject to regulations which otherwise might not have applied. This is particularly the case with food products, where the production, packaging and sale of foodstuffs is governed by health and other regulations.

It can involve many extra costs; including such things as processing equipment, extra water and power, licences & permits, packaging and labelling, and storage facilities; so you need to thoroughly investigate what is involved, and try to weigh up the potential benefits before making any significant investment.

In some instances the value adding operation might be best tackled as a joint venture or cooperative effort between several farms (eg. canning fruit, production of fruit juices, etc). This approach can offer many economies of scale (i.e. It might not be economically viable for one farm to set up a processing plant because they would not use the facility enough, to achieve a pay back on the investment. Several farms though would share the cost of establishing the plant). A cooperative effort can also offer marketing advantages, for example, because there is a greater amount of produce, it can be more viable to make a significant marketing effort.

In summary, value adding is becoming an increasingly important aspect of agriculture.

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