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Two main challenges that prevent the development of an organic food chain at local and national level — an exploratory study in Finland

Nuutila, Jaakko and Kurppa, Sirpa (2016) Two main challenges that prevent the development of an organic food chain at local and national level — an exploratory study in Finland. Journal of Organic Agriculture, 8, p. 100. [In Press]

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Summary

This study presents two hypothetical challenges 1) The actors in the Finnish food chain do not have a common community that would cover the entire food chain from primary producers to the consumers of organic food and that would, by communal effort, enhance the development of the organic food chain, and 2) A fairer share of power among the food chain actors would enable the development of the organic food chain. The literature supports these arguments; the collaboration occurs mainly on a horizontal level, and leaves actual consumers outside the direct collaboration. The division of power, according to the results of other studies, is uneven, biased and twisted among the food chain actors. In this study, the two arguments were presented to two focus groups: one in the local food chain and other at national food chain level. The focus group discussions confirm the arguments that the activity of the food chain happens mainly on a horizontal level, and that the power is unevenly distributed among the food chain actors. The understanding of the influences of the lack of a common food chain-based community on the development of the organic food chain, and the proposed means for tackling the challenges, were heterogeneous. The understanding of the profitability and potential of such a food chain-based community was to a large extent missing in the agricultural and industrial part of the food chain, especially. The oversized strength of retail companies, the underdeveloped capability of other food chain stakeholders to take control of food marketing and the oversized bureaucracy were seen as the main reasons for the unfair share of power, which situation was even partially accepted. According to the vision of the focus group members, the Finnish organic food chain will be a multifaceted combination of small- and medium-sized local enterprises and large national level enterprises acting at the food chain level, but also accepting alternative marketing channels such as food processing and sales at a farm level. The food chain is dynamic and diverse. The enterprises are in a process of constant development as regards the volume and level of their activity. This development trend and the challenges discussed are typical in many western countries and, therefore, this article with its results provides a useful opening for food chain level discussions in many other countries.


EPrint Type:Journal paper
Agrovoc keywords:
LanguageValueURI
EnglishorganicUNSPECIFIED
Englishfood chainUNSPECIFIED
Englishfocus groupUNSPECIFIED
Subjects: Knowledge management > Research methodology and philosophy > Specific methods > Indicators and other value-laden measures
Knowledge management > Research methodology and philosophy > Systems research and participatory research
Food systems > Markets and trade
Food systems
Food systems > Produce chain management
Research affiliation: Finland
Finland > Luke Natural Resources Institute
ISSN:1177-4258
DOI:DOI: 10.1007/s13165-016-0163-5
Deposited By: Nuutila, Dr. Jaakko
ID Code:31250
Deposited On:28 Feb 2017 06:05
Last Modified:28 Feb 2017 06:05
Document Language:English
Status:In Press
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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