Improved forms of business collaboration for primary producers operating within the UK food supply chain

  • Francisco Gonzalez-Diaz

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    An intense trauma in the UK farming industry was caused by the foot-and-mouth disease. The Policy Commission on the Future of Farming and Food, chaired by Sir Donald Curry CBE, diagnosed that farming was detached from the other sectors of the economy and was “serving nobody well”. The final recommendations of this commission were focused on efficiency, adding value and diversification. Among the specific recommendations, there was an important emphasis on the need to increase collaboration and cooperation because it “is the best way for small farm business to get the benefits of being a large farm business” (Curry, 2002:34). UK experts in farmer collaboration such as, Parnell (1999a), and The Plunkett Foundation (1992) had previously made clear the need for bigger, better, more effective and efficient Farmer Controlled Businesses. English Farming and Food Partnerships (2004a), also,
    set the challenge to explore and evaluate new approaches to develop farmer controlled enterprises more imaginatively. Therefore, the main aim of this research was to identify new forms of collaboration between farmers, which might lead to gain greater scale and flexibility in farming operating in an increasingly global food chain. Using an inductive grounded theory approach comprising a series of Delphi iterative face to face interviews, three rounds of guided interviews were completed. These involved 55 experts in the field of business collaboration, selected using a purposive sampling approach. Interviewees included leading academics, government officials and advisors, senior managers and business proprietors of the most profitable and/or innovative UK-based collaborative ventures. The outcome of the research has been to develop three discreet but combinable models of collaboration. Each model requires different levels of commitment from its members and would suit different business situations. All the proposed models offer a business structure flexible enough to be easily adapted in response to changes in the market place, but they also offer the opportunity of combining into much bigger organisations with the potential to integrate small-scale businesses into networks of international companies. This research also reaffirms that the traditional cultural barriers and divisions between the different stages and participants of the food and farming industry were still present and hinder the development of a more competitive sector. Whilst there has been progress in the assimilation of the supply chain concept, most of the businesses involved did not see the other stages of the chain as their potential partners.
    Date of Award2009
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Coventry University
    • Royal Agricultural University
    SupervisorJohn C Alliston (Supervisor), David J Newton (Supervisor) & J. Barry Dent (Supervisor)

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