Nursery and Greenhouse Sector


March 31, 2005 - Getachew Abate and H Christopher Peterson


We are living in a dynamic world in which the consumption of and demand for new products are rapidly growing and changing. The consumer we have today is more educated, diverse, demanding and different from the consumer we had some two decades ago. The demand for goods and services is becoming more and more sophisticated. There is not only an increasing demand for more varieties, qualities, convenience, etc. on the marketplace, but also for more information on how goods are produced, processed and marketed.
The increasing globalization and liberalization of markets has also played a significant role in creating new trends and demands for goods and services including agricultural products. There are a variety of new products available in the U.S. market today that many consumers did not even know existed some twenty years ago.

In addition, with the growing information technology, communication across different geographical locations and access to new products has become a lot easier. There are a growing number of Internet sites, TV channels, magazines, etc. today that communicate new product trends, latest fashions, lifestyles, etc. to the U.S. consumer. These resources are used not only to purchase goods and services but also to learn and gather experiences how to use the items. This broad knowledge base and experience enabled the consumer to constantly demand for new innovations, new products, new varieties, etc.
As a result, existing agri-businesses are facing increasing competition and markets that demand more frequent innovation and higher quality products and services. People currently appear to have a wide range of knowledge on these domestic and global threats and challenges the agri-businesses are facing. The solutions to these challenges have, however, a tendency to stick to traditional economic approaches that mainly focus on cost and productivity measures or simply to changing the behavior of others (e.g., customers, government, competitors) rather than change what the industry/sector is doing. There are also blurred lines between threats and internal weaknesses that made it difficult in seeking solutions. These approaches ultimately do not appear to fix the problems, and many agricultural commodities are eventually suffering from low prices and profits.


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