When I have managed our family agriculture and farming business for more than 20 years, we have performed cereal and crop farming, fruit and vegetable farming and cattle, and sheep farming operations and irrigation in the field. However, we faced some challenges in different years. These were market volatility and climate volatility. Some summer seasons were dry and some others were rainy. It was not easy to sell sheep and cattle in the local market due to the low customer demand, especially in 1960-1970 years. In the coming years, market access was improved and many smallholders achieved agribusiness growth and welfare. Because we improved our marketing strategy, developed new skills, increased know-how and we used new technologies. It was clear that the price volatility and drought seasons always affected the smallholders in agribusiness productivity and value creation.
In another project, we have performed agribusiness value chain analysis, applied good agricultural practices and integrated pest management methods, cooperated with farmers, SMEs and Government agencies and we have supplied fruits, vegetables and grains according to the EC infant food standards. So that we achieved economic growth, conserved biodiversity, increased agricultural output, created additional export opportunities and improved food security. These works benefited farmers, SMEs, the private sector and our company.
Now let’s look at the top 20 key issues affecting agribusiness industry and food security, the two with the most impact are the market volatility and climate volatility. If we summarize these top 20 issues, these are:
1. Climate volatility;
2. Domestic and global market volatility;
3. Marketing/visibility of the agribusiness sector and market access;
4. High global competition and changes in global trade policies. Disruptors in technology, production and services driving down margins;
5. Increased corporate investment in the agribusiness industry & corporatization;
7. Agtech innovation and internet of things (IoT) and digitalization of the supply chain;
8. Automation and digital disruption at farm, factory and customer services;
9. A need for effective risk management;
10. Poor financing sources to access international markets;
11. Changes in consumer needs and issues based on strong food safety and quality records;
12. Increasing rural-urban migration and loss of manpower in farming areas.
13. Weak infrastructure in rural areas
14. Standardization and differentiation
15. Collaboration and networking
16. Availability and price of land for expansion
17. New government mandates and regulations
18. Commercialization of research and knowledge
19. Acting as change agents
20. Entrepreneurship capability and innovation
Strengthening the agribusiness value chain is important to understand customer needs, what products, technologies, skills, and services are needed for future productivity and economic growth of the region. Smart specialization, cooperation, and competitiveness are especially vital or important for SMEs during the global and domestic economic transformation process in the agribusiness industry. For example, 50 percent of the agricultural supplies is provided by the cooperatives and they have 40 percent agro-food market share in Europe.
Finally, I have to define that smart specialization and cluster-focused approaches supported by effective marketing and innovation strategies to regional economic development are internationally proven to be one of the strongest avenues to increased business growth, productivity and new job creation in agri-food industry to solve the issues and create agribusiness growth, welfare and food security.