An evaluation of the environmental care orientation of deciduous fruit producers in the Western Cape
A classification system developed to evaluate the environmental care orientation of companies and, more specifically, their strategies to deal with the environmental care requirements prescribed by the market was applied to the deciduous fruit sector in the Western Cape. A survey was done to determine the attitude towards and status of, environmental care activities amongst deciduous fruit producers who have already obtained Eurepgap certification or who are busy preparing for the certification audit. A questionnaire was used and the responses were judged in terms of the guidelines of the classification system. The nature of the typical South African - European deciduous fruit export supply chain is that South African producers desire to supply the retail market at higher prices than that of the wholesale market. The producers are then confronted with the stringent environmental care requirements of the retail chains, who use the environmental care product image aggressively as a selling point in the retail market, acting like typical Class III market oriented institutions. The classification shows that the majority of producers try to comply with these requirements with minimum effort (Class I). The more progressive producers accept them as good agricultural practices to increase their production efficiency. (Class II). Some farmers participate in a comprehensive Integrated Crop Management (ICM) system to establish a culture of environmental care at farm level in a more efficient way. ICM implementation also helps to prepare proactively for possible changes in the environmental care requirements of individual retail chains. This seems to be the more effective strategy for the primary producer.
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