The difference in agricultural production cost among European and non-European countries – potato and tomato – market challenges for import-export.
DProf thesis, Middlesex University.
The complicated world of fresh fruits and vegetables commerce has inspired me to proceed with this project. The main topic of this research is the production cost of tomato and potato which are the highest- in consumption -vegetables in the Greek market. The study is focused on Greek production versus rest countries around it (European and non European countries) which export these products under specific circumstances. By stating European countries, it is implied that the countries are laid geographically in European continent and they are included in the European Monetary Union. In non European countries there are either countries that belong geographically to Europe but they are not included in the European Monetary Union. Or countries that do not lay geographically in Europe. Therefore the methodology is divided geographically in two main levels of research: 1. Data collection from Greece where there are focus groups of agronomists, cooperative unions, traders. There’s a base of around two hundred farmers who have filled in questionnaires regarding the crops mentioned above. 2. Data collection from rest countries is based from interviews of foreign exporters, local importers – traders, embassies and also from colleagues of the mother company that I am working for. The questionnaires are structured in such a way to avoid coincidental answers by the interviewed people. The analysis was based on the SPSS statistical program and this has led to several findings: - Contracted agriculture in Greece may keep production costs low and reinforce the competitive power towards rest countries. In future, it should obviously expand to more crops. - Low income farmers pay more attention to finding cheap equipment than the rest. - Most farmers, especially the ones with big lands (more than five hectares per person) make precautionary use of chemicals to protect their crops from plant diseases. - Young farmers invest more in new technology and equipment than older generations. - Farmers, who invest in their crop business, believe in the future of biological agriculture. - The current evolution of biological agriculture in Greece remains lower than the average European one. - Large production farmers are more professional and they work on economies of scale to minimize their costs. - The expansion of organic crops in the Greek market can lead to a sustainable level of income for both producers and traders - Apart from unpredictable parameters like weather, the marketing of agricultural production can fully guarantee positive income. - The more professional the farmers are the more the investment in their crops - On a contract basis agriculture, farmers and super markets may become valuable partners Furthermore, the conclusions of this project can probably lead to future research on the topics below: - The successful minimization of production cost to contracted potato crops should find application in other cultivations. - The development of private labels in fresh fruits and vegetables is another exit to large scale Greek agricultural production. - Once the consumers become familiar with private labels, then the future researchers should concentrate on the evolution of these products. - The Greek exports should prioritize on the production of competitive, safe and qualitative products. These are the key factors to adapt to the European consumers’ demands. - The typical bureaucracy regarding imports and exports to and from Greece has to be lessened, because it often causes delays to loadings and quality reduction. - Exports to Scandinavian countries need to be further investigated in future. These countries have the financial ability to pay the added value of products, but they have high quality standards. The risk of rejection and a permanent collaboration break is quite high in such countries, if there is quality uncertainty. - Commercial challenges among rest countries should also be analyzed in future studies (exports from Fyrom to north Europe, from Turkey to north Europe, from China to Europe and Russia). - New legislation that eliminates the export barriers from the third Mediterranean countries (Egypt, Morocco, Lebanon etc) should change the balances in the European agriculture.
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