Farmers’ motivation and perceived effects of participating in short food supply chains: evidence from a North Italian survey
Local production supports the economies of place and increasingly makes sense as the citizen-consumers increase in number and awareness. Nonetheless, despite the value of the short supply chains, some researchers have reacted sceptically to the irrational optimism around this sales structure. A close relationship with consumers does not imply more profit or exchange fairness by definition. In fact, increasing marketing costs must be considered and there is still information asymmetry, and the profiteering farmers could take advantage of the consumer trust. Through data reduction we explored the farmers' motivation and perceived effects of participating in short food supply chains. We also analysed the location of farms along with their size, production, sale channels and the relative market share, as well as whether they adopted quality certifications. We found that the farmers that work within the short food supply chains opt for a sort of co-certification mechanism based on the consumer/producer relationships rather than opting for the quality certification. Furthermore, the multivariate analysis showed different motivations and perceptions of direct sales among farmers: those that were the largest and farthest from the point of sale, were positive toward the social values of short food supply chains, while the rest seemed less competitive and were more motivated by profit and survival. The results reaffirm that the local production may not be good per se, and the presence of profit and surviving-orientation to market should be considered a treat especially for the reputation of the whole system.
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