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Book of Abstracts

11th IFOAM
Scientific Conference
11-15 August 1996
Copenhagen, Denmark

Abstract front page
Subject index
Athor index


Marketing Systems role for sustainability of Ag. Systems S24

Castano, Jairo

Department of Marketing and Marketing Research, Wageningen Agricultural University, 6706 KN, The Netherlands. Hillsides Program, CIAT, A.A. 6713,Cali, Colombia.

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The need for sustainable agricultural production is generally accepted, and it is increasingly investigated. However, although much has been written about the socioeconomic causes of problems with sustainability and the policies needed to overcome them, this has generally been from the viewpoint of the farmer and/or government. There has been no assessment of sustainability problems and needs from of the perspective of the marketing system (FAO, 1991). This study is a first attempt to consider the question of sustainability of agricultural systems from a marketing system perspective. Research questions are pursued. What is the impact of marketing systems on the sustainability in agriculture? What is the contribution of the conditioning environment (physical, political/legal, economic, social, cultural, or technological), together with a selected agricultural market systems, on farmer's decision to use sustainable production systems?

A research framework is presented to appraise the relationship between marketing and sustainability. A positive model approach relates sustainability (i.e. adoption of resource-conserving technologies) to physical (e.g. land slope), personal (e.g. education), economic (e.g.income), and institutional (e.g. marketing and governmental institutions) factors. A case study in an Andean hillside region was carried out, and preliminary results show that market access and other market related variables have a significant role in the adoption of soil conservation practices.

The findings seem to confirm that farmers facing market imperfections, very common in conventional marketing systems, do not make an appropriate use of the land. Market imperfections such as transport and communications handicaps, high interests of commercial loans, or ambiguity of input and output prices, can result in sub-optimal management of the natural resource.

FAO (1991): Farming, Processing and Marketing Systems for SustainableAgriculture and Rural Development. Background document no. 4, theNetherlands conference.