Agriculture

10 Results

 

Decommoditizing the Canned Tomato

Most commodity producers look to cut costs aggressively. So why is Mutti S.p.a, an Italian producer of tomato products, paying farmers more than competitors? Mary Shelman discusses her case study. Open for comment; 6 Comments posted.

The Value of Advice: Evidence from Mobile Phone-Based Agricultural Extension

This paper evaluates a new service that provides mobile-phone based agricultural consulting to poor farmers in India. For decades, the Government of India, like most governments in the developing world, has operated a system of agricultural extension, intended to spread information on new agricultural practices and technologies through a large work force of public extension agents. Evidence of the efficacy of these extension services, however, is limited. This paper describes a randomized field experiment examining the potential for an alternate route to improving agricultural management. Specifically, the authors evaluate Avaaj Otalo (AO), a mobile phone-based technology that allows farmers to call a hotline, ask questions, and receive responses from agricultural scientists and local extension workers. Findings show that AO had a range of important, positive effects on farmer behavior. This paper may be the first rigorous evaluation of mobile phone-based extension and, more generally, the first evaluation of a demand-driven extension service delivered by any means. Read More

HBS Cases: Who Controls Water?

In a recent field study seminar, Professor Forest L. Reinhardt discussed the case "Woolf Farming & Processing," which illustrates how access to water—a basic building block of agriculture—is affected by everything from complex government-mandated requirements to a 3-inch endangered bait fish. Open for comment; 4 Comments posted.

Who Sways the USDA on GMO Approvals?

Government agencies can be "captured" by the very companies or industries they regulate. Looking at how genetically altered food products are approved, Assistant Professor Shon R. Hiatt finds unexpected influencers on the US Department of Agriculture. Open for comment; 15 Comments posted.

Got Local Food?

As consumers become more aware of the health and environmental implications of how food is grown and produced, demand for local food has increased considerably. This paper examines the operational tradeoffs in fresh produce supply to gain insights on what drives the structure of the supply chain and how "local food" can become a viable sourcing strategy for a large retailer. HBS professor Deishin Lee and coauthors show that there are complementary operational synergies when retailers and farmers increase scale and specialize. This implies that when small farmers are capacity constrained, they can be squeezed out of the supply chain. Technological advances in farming practices, efficiency gains in transportation, and space constraints in retail stores result in supply chain members mutually benefitting from their decision to increase scale, leading to specialization. The study characterizes the conditions under which vertical differentiation and operational scope can increase the viability of the small local farmer. This paper contributes to work on supply chain design and environmental sustainability. Read More

Poultry in Motion: A Study of International Trade Finance Practices

When engaging in international trade, exporters must decide which financing terms to use in their transactions. Should they ask the importers to pay for goods before they are loaded for shipment, ask them to pay after the goods have arrived at their destination, or should they use some form of bank intermediation like a letter of credit? In this paper, Pol AntrÓs and C. Fritz Foley investigate this question by analyzing detailed data on the activities of a single US-based firm that exports frozen and refrigerated food products, primarily poultry. The data cover roughly $7 billion in sales to more than 140 countries over the 1996-2009 period and contain comprehensive information on the financing terms used in each transaction. Read More

Water, Electricity, and Transportation: Preparing for the Population Boom

By 2050, the world's cities will have to support 3 billion more inhabitants, mostly in developing countries, with crucial investments needed in three areas: water, energy, and transportation. Several of the planet's top city planning and environmental business experts gathered at Harvard Business School earlier this month to discuss available options. Closed for comment; 18 Comments posted.

Business Summit: The Evolution of Agribusiness

Agribusiness has come to be seen not just as economically important, but as a critical part of society. The future for this massive industry will be both exciting and complex. Read More

Economics of the Ethanol Business

What happens when a group of Missouri corn farmers gets into the energy business? What appears to be a very lucrative decision quickly turns out to be much more risky. Professor Forest Reinhardt leads a case discussion on what the protagonists should do next. From HBS Alumni Bulletin. Read More