The produce industry is one that is home to a variety of different kinds of businesses, in part due to how widespread produce growers are throughout the globe and how in demand their products are. One important sector of the produce market is small growers that do not have a large amount of physical room to grow produce, or capital to invest in growing equipment when compared to their larger counterparts. There are a few key reasons why big produce needs small growers to be successful.
In the produce industry, the move towards buying produce and agricultural goods that come from within a certain distance of the end user has seen a tremendous rise in prominence. Wal-Mart stated in 2010 that they intend to double their local produce sales to 9% by 2015. Small growers that service local towns or counties are often better-equipped to meet local produce needs in one particular area, when compared to bigger growers that may be focused on servicing a large number of areas at the same time
Small growers can fulfill a particular produce need that businesses and individuals in a certain area may have. Many large growers have to focus on providing a large quantity of common types of produce that are desirable in the largest number of markets, which leaves smaller growers to fill in the gaps with specialized produce offerings
The localized economic benefits of small produce companies are also a contributing factor to the reasons why big produce needs small growers. According to TIME, when produce is purchased locally instead of at a supermarket, roughly double the money spent on produce remains in the local economy.
Challenges Faced By Small Produce Growers
Even if you understand the reasons why big produce needs small growers, it is still important to be aware of the difficulties that small growers today face. The Institute of Food Technologists says that small produce farmers may need help to take measures to minimize the spread of dangerous pathogens in their produce. A panel discussion at an IFT function in New Orleans came to the conclusion that sanitation is an issue that must be paid attention to at every different stage of life for produce, including growing, harvesting, washing, storing, and transportation. Keith Schneider, PhD and professor of Food and Nutrition at the University of Florida, says that small growers need to have information that is easy to understand about how to come up with affordable solutions to meet regulations that help limit the spread of harmful pathogens.
Small Growers: A Big Part Of Produce
Small businesses are a key driver of the economy in almost every industry, and produce is no exception. There are a few important factors to understand when considering why big produce needs small growers. Small growers themselves must also make an effort to improve their processes and be sure that they do everything that is necessary to sustain their operation for the greater good of the national economy and their local community.