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A MARKETING-SYSTEM APPROACH TO REMOVING DISTRIBUTION BARRIERS CONFRONTING SMALL-VOLUME FRUIT AND VEGETABLE GROWERS

Authors
Disciplines
  • Communication

Abstract

A Marketing-System Approach to Removing Distribution Barriers Confronting Small-Volume Fruit and Vegetable Growers David B. Eastwood, John R. Brooker, Forrest Steglin, Tim Woods, and Ed Estes Changing food-consumption patterns favoring fresh-produce production and the emergence of convenience packaging have created opportunities for fruit and vegetable production. Changing in- formation technology, processing, wholesaling, and transportation continue to favor larger market par- ticipants who benefit from specialized managerial and coordination activities. Small-volume growers have difficulty meeting the purchasing require- ments for many types of outlets. Part of the prob- lem faced by rural areas and smaller growers re- lates directly to market access. Comparisons of the marketing-channel infrastructures among states with comparable growing conditions but different market development should serve to pinpoint criti- cal problem areas. A grant funded by the Initiative for Future Ag- riculture and Food Systems (USDA/IFAFS) is un- derway to provide a set of guidelines for market development with an emphasis on small produce growers. Produce market-channel development is being analyzed in Georgia, Kentucky, North Caro- lina, and Tennessee. The scope of the project is to identify factors contributing to different produce- market development experiences in the four states, compare them, and draw conclusions about over- coming the barriers to market development. The scope of work entails collecting informa- tion from stakeholders in the produce-marketing systems in each state. Relevant information gath- ering is underway through interviews with key par- ticipants. Five questionnaires have been developed for Extension, market managers at public year- round facilities, marketing agents, State Depart- ments of Agriculture, and growers. Each of these instruments was described along with overviews of the sampling approaches that are in use. Eastwood and Brooker are professors at University of T

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