Rupanyup's Wimmera Grain Store has stressed the benefits of Wimmera farmers adding value to their products.
Owner Jennifer Moore's comments follow the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission noting farmers are increasingly altering their production and processing systems to target higher value markets.
"The Grain Store started eight years ago when I came back to the family farm," Ms Moore said.
"It's designed to take smaller parcels of chickpeas, lentils, pulse flowers and other added value products into food service and manufacture businesses in Melbourne and retail outlets, compared to the larger orders you see distributed by the Wimmera Grain Company."
Ms Moore, nee Matthews, said she sourced the grains from her brother's farm, neighbours and suppliers to the Wimmera Grain Company for her product. She still lives in Melbourne - where her products are warehoused - which she said helped with engaging with customers more quickly.
She also supplies chickpeas and fava beans to Healthy Impulse's Rebecca Dunlop and Rupanyup Living's Claire Morgan for use in their food products. Ms Moore said the Wimmera would benefit from lifting the amount of consumable goods it produced compared to crops.
"In 2011, when I started, census data showed more produce was created in the Yarriambiack Shire than the Mornington Peninsula and the Yarra Valley combined," she said, "but who has heard of the Yarriambiack Shire from an artisan food perspective?".
"I think in order for farming to survive in the future, to add value to what we grow is definitely the way forward. You need to either work with a child that's gone off and done further education, and then the family can work together as a group with that skill set to look at how to add value."
"Alternatively you can do it as a community group, which is what we've been informally developing in Rupanyup with Claire and Bec."
Ms Moore said she and Ms Morgan worked with Haven's AXIS Worx to help create employment for people with disability in the region.
Lahaurm's Mount Zero Olives has also made value-adding a focus
General Manager Richard Seymour said since 2005, the company has targeted the food services industry as a market.
"Chefs and consumers really want to know where the product they buy and eat is coming from, and suppliers and growers can work together to create something specific to their needs," Mr Seymour said.
"We've always been selling to various independent retailers, but we chose to target restaurants and catering services in order to grow our volume," he said.
"Also to market our brand: to leverage off fact best chefs in country - Dan Hunter at Brae, Shannon Bennett at Vue du Monde - and local restaurants like Cafe Jas in Horsham use our product."
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Mr Seymour is based in Melbourne's Sunshine West, where the product is packaged and produced. His parents Neil and Jane own the grove at the foot of the Grampians.
Mount Zero Olives also works with Wimmera farmers to encourage the growth of premium lentil and grain varieties such as freekeh, farro and barley, which it then packages and distributes.
On March 4, the consumer watchdog told the International Farm Management Association Congress in Tasmania consumer trust should be a major focus for farmers targeting premium markets.
ACCC Deputy Chair Mick Keogh said most of the growth in value in Australia's agricultural output in recent decades could be put down to quality, rather than quantity.
"Many of the product characteristics for which consumers are prepared to pay premium prices are not able to be determined just by looking at the product. For example, wool from unmulesed sheep looks the same as wool from mulesed sheep," Mr Keogh said.
He also said the ACCC would network with governments and consumers so farmers could adapt to the change in agricultural supply chains.
"Processors and retailers are increasingly dealing directly with farmers to ensure consistent supply of higher value products, and bypassing the more traditional agricultural markets," Mr Keogh said.
"While many farmers are benefiting, price transparency is decreasing and pricing complexity is increasing because processors and retailers are using more and more complex pricing systems that target very specific product qualities and characteristics."
"This means farmers cannot easily compare offers from different processors, and are therefore in a weakened bargaining position in their price negotiations."