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Achieving competitiveness in fresh fruit enterprises through an integrated value chain approach : a case study from the Pakistan mango industry
In Pakistan, the agricultural food industry is considered the backbone of the economy as it contributes to economic and social development. Fresh fruits and vegetables are seasonal and perishable and demand effective and efficient integration of farming and business practices. Despite being a leading mango producing and exporting country, agricultural enterprises in Pakistan face social, economic, environmental, and public policy challenges that lower product quality, negatively impact consumer values, reduce profitability, and hinder the potential to achieve competitiveness in domestic and export markets. As a result, all stakeholders now realise that food enterprises operating in mango value chains (VCs) need to be more efficient by utilising the natural, economic, and social resources more effectively.
Therefore, this research study addresses the issues of how mango value chain actors in Pakistan utilise their resources to identify the changing consumer concerns towards food quality and safety, understand how VC actors respond to consumer behaviour, and examine how VC performance can be improved to maximise competitiveness. Because this study employs a multi-disciplinary investigation of complex agricultural value chains, it adopted a sequential mixed method design based on the combination of positivism and constructivism using the pragmatic paradigm. The theoretical framework used was based on an integration of VC and sustainable competitiveness principles. It was developed that competitiveness could not be sustained without improving the economic (profit), social (people), and environmental (planet) performance of VCs and developing public policies for integrating the value chain system. To understand consumer insights and preferences for quality and safety attributes, 400 consumers were surveyed. To understand the performance and constraints faced by VC actors, and public stakeholders, 130 in-depth interviews were conducted. Online surveys were also conducted with 10 EU/UK importers of Pakistani mango. SPSS 26 computer software was used for qualitative data analysis such descriptive statistics and exploratory factor and cluster analysis whereas, NVivo 12 was used for thematic content analysis of qualitative data.
The research study identified five different consumer segments: traditional, safety conscious, price and market sensitive, quality sensitive, and perfect. Product preferences, consumption, purchasing patterns, and socio-economic features of each segment were quite distinct. Survey data also noted concerns associated with post-purchase losses and wastage. The mango industry was diverse and heterogeneous because of the integration of numerous actors and stakeholders throughout a traditional, modern, and export VC that served low, middle, and high income domestic, and foreign consumers. Most product flowed through traditional chains; substantial volumes of high-quality product flowed through modern and export chains. Financial flows were in the form of spot payments, monetary advances, and credit in all types of chains. Information flows along the traditional VC were unbalanced and weak; in contrast there was strong information flow in modern and export chains and their actors were trying to vertically integrate by procuring mangoes directly from orchards.
A system-wide evaluation showed that most of the VC actors earned substantial profits, significant gaps in economic (profit) performance were observed as actors were not adequately creating consumer value, and not focusing on food safety, wastage and were of losses, and poor export performance. Although the value chains generated significant employment opportunities, its social (people) performance failed to generate work opportunities for women and ensure worker safety and welfare. The environmental (planet) performance of VCs was compromised by excessive and injudicious use of chemicals, inadequate care of natural resources, and inefficient waste management. Public policies were not properly addressing the concerns of value chain actors and its need to be focused on integrated value chain development.
The study suggested effective linkages among different actors and efficient coordination and information flows are important and that the integrated VC system be strengthened to deliver consumer preferred food quality and safety values. It also called for the adoption of practices that increase economic (profit) benefits, contribute to social (people) development, align with environmentally (planet) friendly practices, and establish and implement a public policy focus for integrated VC development.
The contribution of this research study is twofold. Firstly, it successfully employs an integrated VC methodology which links consumers’ preferences with VC integration and performance in a developing country context. Secondly, it makes a significant contribution to an emerging literature on achieving competitiveness for fresh mango enterprises and value chains by focusing on social (people), economic (profit), environment (planet), and public policy determinants, and including consumers as the main driver of value chain activities. Future research should focus on consumer behaviour and insights, food and safety, prospects for food processing, integration of value creation activities in modern and export VCs, and the economic impact of environment on the sustainable competitiveness of mango food enterprises.
- PhD Thesis
Paginationxix, 346 pages
Department/SchoolTasmanian Institute of Agriculture
PublisherUniversity of Tasmania