TRANSITION TO CONSUMER-DRIVEN VALUE CHAINS IN THE NETHERLANDS
Market research and strategic management provide a way for horticultural entrepreneurs to perform better in value chains. Horticultural research can support the sector by conducting market research and providing strategic management tools. However, these research products may lose their value when power relations within value chains or in the public domain change. These changes occurred in The Netherlands in the 1990s. The leading role of the Ministry of Agriculture declined and fierce campaigns by NGOs on food safety forced supermarkets to take the lead. This paper describes the methodology applied to reproduce and analyze the public debate on pesticides and crop protection in The Netherlands. The paper reveals the socio-economic and institutional changes that cleared the way for NGOs to campaign against the government and against supermarkets for MRL compliance. Supermarkets were afraid that NGO campaigns would emanate into consumer strikes and took over the supervision of compliance to MRL requirements from the government. They forced value chain partners and the growers of vegetables and fruit to establish a new certification system. The transition process described herein took place without any market research or application of strategic management tools. Although government services, supermarkets and grower organizations tried to maintain their existing relationships and practices, at the end of the day, they all had to accept a new market orientation. Value chain partners continue to frustrate the adoption of science-based economic, marketing and managerial techniques developed by researchers. Horticultural producers have to meet the requirements of retailers otherwise they put their supply positions at risk. This paper recommends that researchers should include societal concerns and social factors in their efforts to develop consumer-driven value chains.
Buurma, J.S., Lamine , C. and Haynes, I. (2012). TRANSITION TO CONSUMER-DRIVEN VALUE CHAINS IN THE NETHERLANDS. Acta Hortic. 930, 69-75
transition, campaigns, NGOs, supermarkets, research, Netherlands