OPINION: Supply and demand only applies to prices outside the supermarket.

It’s not as simple as “cutting out the middle man”.

The middle man is often relied upon these days for services no longer within the reach of the common producer.

It certainly rings true for the MIA’s rice growers.

Gone are the days where farmers can grow, harvest, prepare, package and deliver their product ready for consumption.

Instead, companies like SunRice fill the gap between producer and supplier, while also providing employment and growth opportunities for their communities.

But it seems big business is warping the age-old theory of value being determined by supply and demand.

Sure, it’s certainly still the case for farmers.

An estimated 800,000 tonnes will be harvested over the next month throughout the MIA – a 200 per cent rise on 2016’s mediocre return.

Unsustainable measures are seeing a comparably large crop produce less profits than the previous season.

It could be argued farmers were never going to get bang for their buck during a bumper season – again, supply and demand.

But the price disparity at a producer’s level is far greater year-on-year compared to what we see in the supermarket.

Businesses like SunRice feel the pinch during rough seasons too, but rely on sustainable measures to keep their head above water and their employees working.

Supermarkets do the same, but to an extreme level.

Mark ups, cost covering and re-branding means the supermarkets don’t have to fluctuate their prices during tough times.

It means it’s the farmers most likely feeling the pinch when prices go south.

The big-business supermarkets have changed the Australian food-producing landscape over the past century.

But as competition dwindles, the big guns continue to pass their losses on to the producers, playing dirty in the quest to please shareholders.

Squeezing farmers may seem sustainable for the supermarkets for now, but there is a limit. If producers continue to walk off the land in search of a sustainable income, supermarkets will have no other option but to take on other cost-saving measures.

Supply and demand may see prices rise to the point where the angry consumers are footing the bill, and that certainly won’t please the shareholders.