From Farm, Fishery & Forest to Market


Introduction

We are going to look at 3 objectives taking us along the road from Farm to Market.

#1
The objective of farming is to produce components of food, fish and fibre and to sell them profitably. (Fibre encompasses non-food commodities such as cotton and timber.)

Selling profitably is not just the task of the farmer
Components may be sold in different forms #2
The objective of food, fish & fibre processing and packaging is to add significant value to such components to make saleable value added products.

Processing may take many forms Now you may wonder why I am telling you all this obvious sounding stuff ! It sounds pretty simple and you probably know it already !  I read a report entitled "Agricultural Development Management and Operational Strategy (ADMOS) written for Grenada in 2003 which might be fine for those who like "high falutin" documents but I'm pretty sure not many  farmers in Grenada have read it. Yes - there is nothing incorrect and it has plenty of ideas but somehow it's hard to 'see the wood from the trees'.  I'm going to convey additional ideas and much of the same material to you in a manner that will not cause mental indigestion !

You may have noticed I've spoken of 2 objectives so far and the 3rd is coming up.  Following its introduction I'll go through each of these 3 areas of focus again and ask the following questions...
#3
The objective of marketing is to locate markets, make contracts between suppliers and buyers in order to sell products.

Locating Markets
So - now you have the flavour of what "From Farm to Market" really means - it's a bit more in today's modern world than selling produce at the farm-gate !

Now we're going to take a second pass through these 3 topics asking our 4 questions in relation to each and perhaps a few extras as well.


Producing Food, Fish and Fibre Profitably

Do you know the secret of success on the share-market ?  Buy low and sell high !

In business it's the same - one has to buy the components to grow or make a product for less than one is going to receive when one sells the product.

How does one do this ? So - what makes growing crops or plants or animals profitable ? What would make Grenada more profitable at growing animals and plants ?
What's holding back an increase in total Agricultural sales and profit in Grenada ? Why does some land produce less/acre than it could ?
What would enable farming in Grenada to make a large step forward ? Summary - 4 of these answers are educational, one is propaganda and the 6th involves the other 2 - can you figure out which is which and 1 is out on its own ?  If 4 is the largest number you are reading here then you may figure that the aspect it relates to is rather important in Grenada taking a large step forward in terms of Agricultural production and profitability.

Now you have the the 4 questions and answers for the first objective.


Next we'll look at the questions in relation to the second objective - "Processing and Packaging"

What makes Processing and Packaging profitable ?

Processing and Packaging is a business of which processing is generally the larger part. What would enable Grenada to make more money from Processing and Packaging  ? This is not a task for a government but government can get the message out to the people.  Businesses can use micro-finance schemes already in existence. The market will sort out the capable from the not so capable,  what is needed and what is not needed.  Leadership from the top - statements - targets - such as quadrupling farm production and the export of processed goods in the next X years with an annual growth rate of 25% - can you work out how many years it would take ?.

What is holding back the Processing and Packaging Industries in Grenada ?
What would give Grenada a 'kick-start' in the area of Processing and Packaging ?

There are roles for Government, Farmers, Entrepreneurs and Educators in this process
Now we have reached the Marketing section

What makes marketing profitable ?

Marketing can be a business in itself conducted for clients or an integral part of a farming or processing and packaging business.
What would enable Grenada to make more money from Marketing ?

The end product of marketing is increased sales at the best possible price.
What's holding the Marketing Aspect back in Grenada

The evidence is that only in the areas of sugar and bananas is Grenada making substantial exports - well beyond the local consumption.
What's needed to make Marketing take a leap forward ?

Leadership - the setting of goals
Now we've examined the 3 objectives in relation to the 4 questions. Are there other things that should be said ? We haven't used any buzz words such as niche markets, inter-sectoral linkages, product differentiation, socioeconomic issues, globalizing world - did we miss something out ? 

Yes - we have not touched on everything - not that those are important words to have omitted !  We've kept the language simple straight-forward and to the point.

To summarize what should have come across to you is that
There has been no emphasis on
What should the role of Government then be in relation to  the Agriculture, Fisheries and Fibre Industries ?

The Government has a Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries

There is value in that Ministry providing the following  (This list is not exhaustive.)
Other ways in which Government may assist and provide leadership




David L Evans Ph D
7th March 2011