Marketing concentration and geographical dispersion: A survey of organic farms in England and Wales
Ilbery, B., Courtney, P., Kirwan, J. and Maye, D. (2010) Marketing concentration and geographical dispersion: A survey of organic farms in England and Wales. British Food Journal, 112 (9). pp. 962-975. ISSN 0007-070X
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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/00070701011074345
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the proportion and distribution of organic produce sold through different marketing channels by a sample of organic farmers in three “core” areas of organic farming in England and Wales. More specifically, it conducts a quantitative analysis of marketing concentration and geographical dispersion within different travel time zones. Design/methodology/approach – A quantitative database was constructed on the marketing channels and travel time zones used by 61 organic farmers to sell their produce and purchase necessary inputs. Indices of marketing concentration and geographical dispersion (outputs and inputs) were then calculated for each farm and region. Findings – Results indicate a high level of marketing concentration, dominated by marketing cooperatives, directmarketing and abattoir/processors. Similar levels of concentration are recorded for the indices of geographical dispersion (especially outputs). Results vary significantly between the three regions, but it is clear that organic farmers in each region make use of different combinations of marketing channels, both local and national, in increasingly hybridised and individualised supply chains. Research limitations/implications – Many organic farmers are developing hybridised supply chains, including both local and more conventional marketing channels, and further research is needed into the identified regional differences and the reasons for developing what are often very individualised marketing chains. Originality/value – This is the first attempt to calculate indices of marketing concentration and geographical dispersion for organic farms in different regions of England and Wales. The paper also contributes to debates on the potential impact of organic farming on rural development and the local economy
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