Management of Agribusiness: Global Challenges
Liesbeth Dries (Wageningen
Kostas Karantininis (Swedish University of Agricultural Science),
Decio Zylbersztajn (University of Sao Paolo), and
Stefano Pascucci (Wageningen University).
In recent years agribusiness has been challenged by a dramatic increase in
risk and uncertainty. Reasons for this can be found in high price
volatility, policy reforms, food safety concerns, and social and economic
turbulence. As a response to these challenges agri-food players are
re-orienting their core business activities and re-conceptualizing their
relationships within supply chains and rural communities. As a result, a new
set of institutions, organizations and governance structures is emerging. As
these institutional innovations in the agri-food sector are still
under-researched, there is a need for more in-depth theoretical
investigations as well as for innovative research methodologies.
A first topic that can be covered in
this track is related to institutional changes in many European agricultural
sectors. For example, in the dairy sector, as a direct result of recent
crises, the EU commission has published proposals to stabilize dairy
markets. These proposals include the encouragement of formal contracts in
the sector, the stimulation of producer organizations to improve farmers’
bargaining power and the set-up of inter-branch organizations that involve
players from different supply chain segments to improve information flows
and research efforts and promote best practices (EC, 2010). While contracts
and producer organizations are not novel in the dairy sector, the degree to
which member states make these institutions compulsory may have important
repercussions for the dynamics of relationships in the sector. A similar
institutional framework has been discussed also for other sectors including
the pork and fruit and vegetable sector.
A second topic that can be covered in
the special issue refers to the analysis of emerging organizations and
governance structures in the agribusiness. As pointed out by Williamson, O.
E. (2003, p.23) and Masten (2000) the agricultural and food sectors are
traditionally providing extraordinary examples of “puzzling phenomena” that
often can challenge mainstream theories. Therefore a deeper and broader
analysis of emerging governance structures within agri-food transactions can
lead to new relevant theoretical achievements as well as “provide a rich and
largely unexplored area for application and refinement of transaction-cost
theory” (Masten, 2000; p.190).
Examples in this sense are the
increasing number of consumer-producer networks and cooperatives (i.e.
Farmers Markets and Community Supported Agriculture) that are re-organizing
short supply chains mainly at local level and that heavily rely on issues
such as trust, fairness and social capital in general (Toler et al., 2009;
Pascucci, 2010) . Also at a global level new forms of vertical coordination,
partnerships and alliances are emerging between different and heterogeneous
stakeholders. These partnerships increasingly involve agri-food companies
(at different levels of the supply chain), NGOs, universities, government
agencies, international organizations, competitors and/or investors - to
share information and specific assets and to realize common investments
(Dentoni and Peterson, 2011). Therefore the focus of this track is to
further develop the theory of new institutional economics through empirical
applications that are relevant for the agribusiness.
The institutional dynamics in both
developed and developing economies are considered as well as rural
activities. The track will primarily focus on contributions that will adopt
a new institutional economics perspective and (out of a vast literature)
will highlight some of the most important branches of this literature, such
as transaction cost economics, agency theory, property rights, relational
contracting and networks.
Dentoni, D., Peterson, H.C., 2011. Multi-Stakeholder Sustainability
Alliances: A Signalling Theory Approach. International Food and Agribusiness
Management Review (In Press).
Masten, S. E. (2000). Transaction-Cost
Economics and the Organization of Agricultural Transactions. In M. R. Baye
(ed.), Advances in Applied Microeconomics - Industrial Organization.
Pascucci, S., 2010. Governance
Structure, Perception and Innovation in Credence Food Transactions: The Role
of Food Community Networks. International Journal on Food System Dynamics, 1
(3), 224 – 236.
Toler, S.,B. C. Briggeman, J. L.
Lusk, and D. C. Adams. 2009. Fairness, Farmers Markets, and Local
Production. American Journalof Agricultural Economics 91(5): 1272–1278.
Williamson, O. E. (2003). Transaction
cost economics and agriculture - An excursion. In G. V. Huylenbroeck and G.
Durant (eds.), Multifunctionality Agriculture : A New Paradigm for European
Agriculture and Rural Development. Ashgate Pub Ltd.