The rise of Agribusiness in Europe. An innovative organisational response to the threat of price volatility in the Western European broiler chicken industry, 1945 to 1973
|Starts:||13:00 1 Feb 2016|
|Ends:||14:00 1 Feb 2016|
|What is it:||Seminar|
|Organiser:||Manchester Institute of Innovation Research|
|Venue opening hours:||1-2pm (coffee from 12.30pm)|
|Who is it for:||University staff, Adults, Alumni, Current University students, General public|
Agribusiness has come to mean different things to different audiences: a vehicle for technological modernization, the erosion of traditional values,
or a mechanism for avoiding transparency. This paper reports research on the diffusion of the agribusiness model of business organisation across
Western Europe in the postwar era. This paper explains why the diffusion of the agribusiness organizational model and the increase in poultry
output were so deeply entwined across Europe. With poultry being the most perishable of food products, so poultry producers were most at risk
of price volatility undermining their profitability. The agribusiness structure allowed markets to be internalized and so price volatility to be
dramatically reduced. The paper concentrates on the US, UK and Italian case studies (the leading broiler producing nations) in some detail,
and shows how the poultry sectors in each country adopted different technological solutions to the price volatility problem. In the US arms’ length
contracts remained ubiquitous. In the UK supermarkets took on an intermediating role in the supply chain, which enabled the emerging poultry
sector to invest in refrigeration technology.
In Italy modernization was retarded until a novel form of refrigeration enabled the market to grow. In contrast to such evidence of
diversity in technological trajectories, in all three countries the leading poultry producers internalized markets and adopted near identical
agribusiness organizational structures. Agribusiness appears to have been adopted by agricultural producers in Western Europe in the
postwar era because of the need to reduce price volatility in marketing perishable products rather than the need to exploit new technologies.
Because price volatility threatened profits in the poultry sector the most, so agribusiness organizational structures diffused first in that agricultural
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