IMPACT OF QUALITY SYSTEMS ON HUNGARIAN FRUIT AND VEGETABLES PRODUCTION. Thesis of PhD dissertation. Melinda Czeglédi - PDF

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IMPACT OF QUALITY SYSTEMS ON HUNGARIAN FRUIT AND VEGETABLES PRODUCTION Thesis of PhD dissertation Melinda Czeglédi Budapest, 2011 Doctoral School: Field: Head: CORVINUS UNIVERSITY OF BUDAPEST Landscape

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IMPACT OF QUALITY SYSTEMS ON HUNGARIAN FRUIT AND VEGETABLES PRODUCTION Thesis of PhD dissertation Melinda Czeglédi Budapest, 2011 Doctoral School: Field: Head: CORVINUS UNIVERSITY OF BUDAPEST Landscape Architecture and Landscape Ecology Agricultural Technology Prof. Attila Csemez, DSC CORVINUS UNIVERSITY OF BUDAPEST Faculty of Landscape Architecture Department of Landscape Planning and Regional Development Supervisor: János Bálint, CSc CORVINUS UNIVERSITY OF BUDAPEST Faculty of Horticultural Science Department of Management and Marketing The applicant met the requirement of the PhD regulations of the Corvinus University of Budapest and the thesis is accepted for the defence process Head of PhD School Supervisor 1. Introduction and objectives of the research Consumers of the developed world more and more reconsider the food safety, the environmental issues of production, health consciousness and the credence attributes of food (GMO-free, organic products) (Myers et al., 2004). There is an increasing demand for information about food (the importance of geographical origin, ethical and social compliance), as well as the demand for convenience and premium products (Orbánné, 2003), as the consumer decides a product's success or failure (Shewfelt, 1999). Global food systems are increasingly based on trust and symbolic dimensions and quality systems are to provide information and assistance for those attributes which can not be evaluated during purchase. Consumer s trends are getting to focus on credence properties, and consumers are willing to make purchasing decisions based on information from packaging and quality signs to decrease the information asymmetry among producers and consumers. The number of and the areas covered by quality certification systems are steadily rising in the last 30 years. The export- or retail-oriented producers must face not only the import and local regulations but there is a variety of additional requirements on different (partly niche-) markets to be complied with. In my opinion the subject has a great significance since food is involved, which are irreplaceable, confidential products, and their safety (quality) is needed to guarantee. In order to achieve this, on the whole length of the supply chain, on its all items a control process must be implemented. Precisely because of its inadequacy various private initiatives appeared to meet the highest possible level of consumer expectations, mainly on the field of primary production and produce handling which are the least controlled parts of the chain. Meeting the consumer expectations influences crucially the export ability of the Hungarian products. Quality in general is very popular in Hungary as well, despite this, the specialties and unique requirements of the agriculture-specific systems are poorly researched and applied. My dissertation focuses on the national situation of quality schemes, application of the worldwide used systems among the Hungarian Producer Organisations (POs) as well as aiming to show possible solutions and ways and highlighting their difficulties. My hypotheses: The respondents due to their poor knowledge on quality, quality management misvalue the importance of quality, do not recognize its role in competitiveness, therefore, able to exploit its potential in a limited capacity. The major force for system application is the market pressure, the expectations of customers. I assume the internal demand primarily rarely appears, accordingly, the ratio of external introduction and operation is very high. In spite of the objections and complaints, most of the approved POs operate a quality system, and the parallel application is even more common. I presume that the greatest perceived barrier to the introduction of these systems is its high cost, but it is not economically justified because of economic calculation and/or cost-benefit analysis is not carried out by producers. 2. Material and methods 2.1 Material Primary research was carried out in among the Hungarian horticultural Producer Groups (PGs) and Producer Organisations (POs) and retailers/processors of fresh fruit or vegetable related to their knowledge, attitude, usage of quality systems. I chose the producer organizations, because they are the basic elements and subsidised units of the European Common Agricultural Policy and constitute a known population. Statistical data can hardly be found about them. The distribution of respondent can be seen in Table 1. Table 1: The distribution of respondents Region Central Hungary Northern Hungary Northern Great Plain Southern Great Plain Central Transdanubia Western Transdanubia Southern Transdanubia Total Type Existing organisations (based on registry) No. of respondents Sample ratio by counties Pc. % Pc % % PG 2 8, ,29 100,00 Ratio of total respondents by counties % PO 5 10, ,24 100,00 100,00 PG 3 12, ,43 100,00 PO 2 4,17 2 6,90 100,00 100,00 PG 10 41, ,57 40,00 PO 16 33, ,03 56,25 50,00 PG 8 33, ,57 50,00 PO 17 35, ,48 58,82 56,00 PG 0 0,00 0 0,00 PO 2 4,17 1 3,45 50,00 50,00 PG 1 4,17 1 7,14 100,00 PO 3 6,25 1 3,45 33,33 50,00 PG 0 0,00 0 0,00 0,00 PO 3 6,25 1 3,45 33,33 33,33 PG , ,00 58,33 PO , ,00 60,42 59,72 To the sample beyond the producer organisations, the sector or retail and food processors, as well as the public administration, the consultancy and the professional organisations were added. Furthermore, I asked 9 food processing companies and 11 retailers and I performed in-depth interviews. 2.2 Methods After the theoretical foundation of the research in the primary research I have collected qualitative and quantitative information using standard questionnaire and expert in-depth interview technique. I made two interrelated questionnaires, one for the producers' side, and the other for the customers side in order to be comparable in some questions. Quantitative and qualitative evaluation methods were used, most often cross and frequency tables. The independence in the correlation examinations was verified by Pearson's Chi-square test and Fisher's exact test and Cramer's were applied for the strength. Nonparametric tests were performed for the assessment of rankings. I used Friedman test for all factors, Wilcoxon and McNemar for pair wise comparisons. To determine the latent variables factor analysis, then to group the respondents cluster analysis (K-mean method) were used. The discriminant analysis is confirmed the results of the cluster analysis. I performed in-depth interviews with three persons representing the authority, the consultancy and the professional organisations based on interview plan and checklist. The analysis of data obtained from questionnaires and interviews were examined with Pasw Statistics 18.0 (formerly known as SPSS 18.0) and SPSS Clementine program packages, for the preparation of figures Microsoft Office Excel software were used. 3. Results 3.1 Attitudes and opinions concerning quality systems The 95% of respondents felt that quality systems have a palpable impact on the quality of fruits and vegetables to be marketed. The specific value of the answers is that nearly 70% of the questionnaires is filled out by professional staff. Opinions about the strength of this effect, however, divergent, 54% believe that it is significant, while 41% think that this effect is slight, as this is shown in Figure 1. The majority opinion of customer side is that the systems have slight effect, but processors evaluate it significantly more important than the retail respondents. 5% 41% 54% significant slight nothing Figure 2: The general opinion of respondent about the systems impact on quality Respondents were asked to express their agreement or disagreement on Likert scale towards five statements about the future of quality schemes. Figure 2 shows two contrary claims with their judgments which mean the same Don't agree, not at al. 0 Partly don't agree 1 0 Neutral 3 Partly agree, 0 Absolutely agree. Mandatory usage in the whole supply chain. Unnecessary all, focus on food safety only. Figure 2: Comparison of opinions regarding quality application The vast majority of respondents reject that there is no need for quality systems. They feel their impact on product quality, but they wish to change the current, somehow chaotic situation. According to 52.6% of the respondents usage should be mandatory in the entire food chain, and nearly 50% partially, 18% completely agree that the usage of a statedeveloped system would be the solution. Those who partly agree dispute the mandatory nature of the scheme. They agree that a voluntary state-run system is needed which can replace the international schemes in Hungary and they trust in the lower cost need. The representative of public administration argued against the mandatory nature, he thinks if the systems become mandatory, it reduces their value, they would become only paper . Eight general scheme factors have been identified which is inherent in almost every system and asked respondents to assess their importance. The Friedman test has proved that there are significant differences in the importance of the factors. The factors are plotted on Figure 3 based on their (converted) rank average. Four distinct groups of factors can be constructed based on the responses (for close couples Wilcoxon test was performed). The product quality is the most important (0.709 Wilcoxon test), traceability and hygiene were the second group (Wilcoxon test, 0.828), yet these are clearly more important for the respondents then the third category of environmental protection, occupational safety and sustainability. The marketing value of systems forms a separate group, which the respondents strongly devalued Food safety Food quality Traceability Hygenie Environment protection Workers' safety Sustainability Marketing Producers Retailers Processors Figure 3: The importance of general scheme factors The producer and consumer sectors have the same sequence, but buyers found much more important the product safety. The processors awarded the food processing parameters with crucial importance (product safety, hygiene, traceability) and revalued significantly compared to all other respondents. 3.2 Knowledge and application of quality schemes The awareness and knowledge of quality systems are essential to the competitive production, the first step towards their application. The next figure (4.) shows the respondents knowledge of quality systems ISO 9000 Globalgap QS SQF Organic agriculture Agro-enviro programs HACCP ISO BRC IFS TNC EU PDO, PGI QFH Never heard about it Heard about it Know it Figure 4: Respondents knowledge on quality schemes The GlobalGAP system is the best known of more than 88% knowledge. The HACCP obtained a high (above 80%) rate of knowledge, because it must be applied for manipulation. The other food safety systems are poorly known. The EU geographical indications are almost unknown, it can be explained with their short history in Hungary, but also the Quality Food from Hungary is hardly known. Respondents were also asked to estimate the current and future proportion of the systems. The responses were usually overestimated the survey results. Assessment of each system have very high deviation in the data, almost identical to their means, therefore I conclude that the respondents (neither side) have no information, knowledge on horticultural applications, therefore it would be particularly important to have records of the applied systems. The responses expect significant increase of operating systems in the 5 and 10 year prospective, but the ISO 9001 system. 3.3 Motivations towards system implementation The respondents evaluated the pre-listed factors, the strength of their motivation in their case. The main motives are clearly their market retention, and their customers, trading partners' requirements but it is hardly behind finding new and international markets. The respondents did not trust that the system operation results in price premium, but they hoped for increasing their sales volume. The enhancement of product quality, the reduction in customer complaints, and compliance with legislation were not decisive factors. Factor analysis was performed for identifying the latent factors behind the motivations. The factor analysis identified three factors behind the 11 listed factors (Figure 5). Figure 5: Identification of latent variables behind the motivations The first factor consists of reduction of complaints, quality enhancement, formal compliance with legislation and a commitment towards their system. This latent factor is named after the nature of its contents: internal motivation. These factors derive from the company culture, management philosophy, direct external impact can not be found. The second factor includes the international appearance, reaching new markets and price premium, this has been called to external motivation, because internal decision and the recognition of external needs are mixing. The third factor contains the market retention and customer demand which are purely external requirement, independent from the company thus its name is external pressure. Respondents were grouped into three major groups by cluster analysis method based on the factors above: the first group (cluster) internal motivation-driven (11 members), the second group external motivation-driven (8 members), while the third group external pressure-driven (18 members) were. The significance level of the second factor was not significant. Figure 6 shows the perceived separation of the three clusters. The horizontal axis is the external pressure and the vertical axis represents the internal motivation factor scores. Figure 6: Respondent groups divided by cluster analysis, horizontal axis: external pressure score, vertical axis: internal motivation score It shows that internal motivation-driven and non-driven members (first and non-first group) can be clearly separated based on the value of the internal motivation factor score. The second and third group is mainly distinguished by the power of external pressure involved. The clustering characteristic is proved by discriminant analysis. Details of cluster attributes In addition to differences in motivation, which is the main distinguishing factor between the groups, further differences can be observed. Substantive differences between the first and third factor-groups were observed, the group formed on the basis of the second factor has mixed properties. Among the internal motivation-driven group the POs are dominant (91.7%), while in the external pressure groups PGs are more likely. The impact of quality systems is considered to be significant by internal motivation-driven group (75%), and its members vote rather for mandatory application, while in the other groups slight-significant votes have the same ratio, and more understanding of the systems unnecessity. In the first group, the introduction of schemes carried out by staff at 30%; and they need shorter time to reach the smooth operation, and this is followed by the certification, while in the third group the task is entrusted to outsiders, first obtain a certificate, and then settled in the operation. A higher proportion of internal motivation-driven consider too high the introduction and operational costs (80/50%). The steady aim of reducing consumers complaint can be observed among these groups. Among the external pressure-driven there is a lower proportion of members involved in the Quality System. 3.4 The system application of respondents More than 90% of the respondent organizations apply at least one system, only four of them are not operated at the time of the survey (Figure 7). It certainly be said that this result is biased in a positive direction in we consider the total horticulture. It is assumed that there is a higher rate in non-use among non-respondents. Among the respondents, however, comparing to the earlier opinions (data not known), this is a good result, but organizations usually involve a smaller group of their producing members into the system, approximately 50% participation in case of respondents. 80,00 70,00 60,00 50,00 40,00 30,00 20,00 10,00 0,00 Plan to implement Using ISO 9000 Globalgap QS SQF Organic agriculture Agro-enviro programs HACCP ISO BRC IFS TNC EU PDO, PGI QFH Figure 7: The applied systems of the respondents The knowledge and application trends are similar, so the majority of respondents, nearly 70% is GlobalGAP certified, and then a further 14% planning to introduce it in the near future. The popularity is due to the demands of retail chains, but also the export is almost impossible without it.. The food safety systems were not common, their use is very low, except HACCP applied by processing and storage units. The application of Agro- Environmental Programs, in contrast to the weakness of their knowledge, is quite high, 66% reported participation in it. The ISO 9001 standard was no longer uncommon. The proportion of organic farming organizations are 12% (5 pieces), it is very high compared to national statistics, but this can not be related to the overall formation, but it means that there members who are engaged in organic farming. The same amount uses Quality Food from Hungary system in case of at least one product, improve the image that there are other three organizations planning to introduce. This is a poor result, especially in such a way that almost 20% of the respondents have not known it-. The geographical indications of European Union are out of use, which can be explained that only in 2010 our first horticultural products have been accepted. The traders and processors expect most the HACCP systems and their own suppliers systems, and then GLOBALGAP, but in six cases (43%) they do not require any system. The HACCP is necessary in primary processing, and it is required in cultivation. GLOBALGAP is expected by the half of the retailer respondents, and processors mention it only two times as an advantage. Organic certificate is required when it is distinguished towards the customers. Both producers and customers mentioned the same systems, this confirms that producers apply the systems based on customer expectations. Product produced in compliance with any quality standards are not distinguished from others and do not gain a price premium but organic. The first systems have been adopter in the 90s, almost exclusively ISO The introduction of ISO systems was supported by state subsidies (Sembery-Miller, 1999). Then a long pause, and from 2003 (1 IFS) the introduction of voluntary schemes has started ( GLOBALGAP, 4 AEP, 2 BRC; GLOBALGAP, BRC 5, 1 Eco) with the help of subsidies again. System introducing has been decreasing in recent years, but still continuous, despite a radical contraction of support possibilities. I found only one PO operational program from which the majority of agriculture is excluded. The grouping of respondent according to the number of applied systems can be seen in Table 2. . Table 2: The grouping of respondent according to the number of applied systems No. of formations (pc) Ratio (%) No. of applied schemes (pc) None of them 4 9, , , , , , ,76 50% of the respondents operate two or three systems parallel. The recorders participate in 6 programs at the same time (two responses). These clusters have ISO 9000, GlobalGAP and BRC certification, HACCP system in place, as well as participate in the agrienvironmental and the Quality Food from Hungary program. The first 4, possibly 5 based on customer requirements or benefit. In some cases occur that next to the mandatory basic operating system (HACCP), other voluntary food safety system is used (BRC), which is not required in the domestic market and all users are export-oriented. Only four respondents did not use a single system, they supply processing and/or domestic retail units. It is perceived that the export-oriented firms use more systems, but n
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