Quality of food products is an important topic for (smallholder) farmers to gain market access, for food processors and traders to strengthen their competitiveness, and for consumers to have access to safe and nutritious food. Also for the natural environment quality is relevant, as food quality standards increasingly include sustainability indicators.
Quality of food products is a complex and elusive concept, as different people and /or organisation have different notions of quality and different interest in improving quality. In addition, the quality of the final consumer good is determined by the activities of many independent actors in the value chain, such as suppliers, farmers, small traders, transporters, processors, wholesalers and retailers. Each of these actors has their own economic interest and their own knowledge and capabilities, all influencing the degree and direction quality improvement may go. Within companies, the combination of technology and managerial competences to a great deal determines the realisation of the quality.
Understanding the opportunities and constraints of food quality improvement throughout the value chain requires detailed insights into the market requirements for food products, the organisational structure of the chain, the incentives each of the chain actors experience, the technological options and the managerial capabilities. It also requires an understanding of the impact of the institutional and organisational environment.
In sum, studying the options for and implications of food quality improvement in the context of the value chain requires a multidisciplinary perspective. This speed-course will give you that multidisciplinary perspective.