Q. What is the Noodle Co-operative?
A. The Noodle Co-operative is for Noodle Wheat farmers and is managed and owned by those growers for their sole benefit. The primary purpose of the Co-op is for:
- the promotion and market development of Australian Noodle Wheat (ANW)
- to provide services to members to get a fairer return and to reduce the risk of growing noodle wheat
- to set industry standards.
The Noodle Co-operative is set up to comply with the relevant laws and is a non-distributing co-operative with share capital. This means it is an open and democratic co-operative focussed on the needs of its members.
Q. Who is involved?
A. The Co-op was founded by noodle growers who could see a better return for the risk of growing noodle wheat was needed. Those growers came together when they heard that our major noodle customers were extremely unhappy with the Australian noodle market and wanted to take their business elsewhere. Sean Powell of Shackleton, Ron Creagh from Nungarin, Graeme Robertson from Kulin and Andrew Crook from Merredin could see that growers had to get together and make sure they were communicating directly with the major customers to ensure a fairer deal for Noodle Growers. They have formed the Board and have been busy working on exciting plans to benefit members.
Q. Why is there a need for a separate Noodle Co-operative?
A. The ANW market is worth several hundred million dollars for the WA economy and WA has a virtual monopoly on the global ANW wheat market. There has been very little effective market development of ANW which has caused many problems which have been highlighted in the AEGIC/GIWA Noodle Report 2015. There is a need for a single organisation to be totally focussed on fair returns to noodle wheat growers from the production and sale of noodle wheat.
For several years, members of the Noodle Co-operative have worked very hard and closely with the most important industry stakeholders to gain their support. They have received overwhelming support for a separate Noodle Co-operative owned and run by growers and it has been recognised by the most important members of the noodle industry, highlighting the importance of noodle growers in the supply chain.
Q. Who can qualify for membership?
A. Growers who can demonstrate the ability to produce ANW in traditional noodle growing regions are encouraged to apply for membership. Applications are assessed by the Board and approved members are entitled to apply for a share in the co-op. There are currently no fees for membership and only advantages for being a member.
Q. What are the advantages of membership?
· The Noodle Coop is the best opportunity for noodle growers to get a fair return for their noodle wheat.
· The Noodle Coop ensures that members’ interests are represented with all parties in the supply chain for the benefit of noodle growers.
· It is the best way to ensure real market development of noodle wheat is done so that the “State treasure” of a global effective monopoly is preserved, protected and if appropriate, expanded.
· For no real cost there are only benefits.
Q. What is the cost of membership?
A. There are currently no membership fees.
Q. Do I have to change my noodle wheat production and sale process?
A. No, the Noodle Co-operative will give members the best information to assist them to make the best decisions to get a fair return from growing noodle wheat. Noodle Growers still control all of their noodle production and sale process as before.
Q. Where does the Noodle Co-op get funding from?
A. The Noodle Coop hopes to generate a small amount of funding from value adding services for members but it relies heavily on the pro bono (without fee) work already done by the Board and from commercial service providers who can add value for members. The Board is keen to keep costs low and enter commercial arrangements that mean that growers get paid first.
Q. Will the Noodle Co-op just become another grower funded administration?
A. Growers in WA have many grower funded organisations representing their interests but none that have been effective in ensuring the best deal for noodle growers. By keeping the Noodle Coop as lean as possible whilst maximising farmgate returns the Noodle Coop will not become just another overgrown administrator. The rules of the Coop require it to stick to the best interests of Noodle growers.
Q. Where can I find more information?
A. The Noodle Coop Board members are your best source of information.
Q. Will this affect my CBH entitlement?
A. There is not expected to be any change to the current supply chain arrangements for noodle wheat and service providers such as CBH should continue to be used in the same way as noodle growers have in the past. CBH is a co-op and co-ops should cooperate under the international co-op principles.
Q. Why can’t AEGIC/GIWA/GRDC/GTA/WAFF/GGA or DAFWA fix the problems in the Noodle Wheat market?
A. Each of these bodies has other responsibilities and either cannot promote and develop the noodle wheat market or has competing priorities given limited resources. All of these bodies have the ability to contribute and assist noodle growers and the Noodle Coop is the best way to coordinate these efforts to ensure growers’ interests are prioritised.
Q. How can I help the Noodle Co-operative?
A. Become a member and talk to other noodle growers to encourage them to join and act together, after all it is only when growers work together that good things can be achieved for their benefit.
Q. What information do I have to provide?
A. The Noodle Coop asks for noodle wheat production information to confirm eligibility for membership. In addition the Noodle Coop will work with others in the supply chain to improve communication of information where that will give a fairer return to noodle growers.
Q. Can I sell my share in the Noodle Coop?
A. The shares are non-transferable but members can get their share purchase money back if they end their membership.
Q. How does the Co-op add value to my noodle operations?
A. From the information that you supply the Co-op, information that in the normal course you would give away for free, the Co-op packages this information in a form that is valuable to customers and industry participants. The Co-op manages this information on your behalf and places a value on it and aims to return that value to you as an incentive payment to account for the addition risk in growing noodle wheat.