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Establishing ethical organic poultry production: a question of successful cooperation management?

Agricultural Communications Documentation Center (ACDC)
Schäfer, Martina (main author)
Online journal article
Publication Date:
Springer Publishing
Agricultural Communications Documentation Center, Funk Library, University of Illinois
Subject Term:
communication analysis, communication barriers, communication networks, consumers, ethical issues, information needs, innovations, poultry, sustainability, food production, food supply, Germany (Europe)
13 pages., via online journal., In reaction to growing critics regarding ecological and ethical aspects of intensive animal husbandry, different initiatives of ethical poultry production try to establish alternative food supply chains on the market. To be able to stabilise these niche innovations parallel to the mainstream regime, new forms of cooperation along the value added chain and with the consumers play an important role. Based on a case study of integrated egg and meat production from a dual-purpose breed by small multifunctional farms in Northeast of Germany, the paper exemplifies the challenges for the different partners of the food supply chain and cooperation management. Empirical data were obtained via nine qualitative interviews with actors along the value chain and via participatory observation of workshops and meetings. The research was embedded in a transdisciplinary project, where different measures to meet the existing challenges were taken and evaluated. Analysing the existing cooperation reveals possibilities for improving cooperation management by e.g. clarifying the goals of the cooperation, including the points of sale as part of the food supply chain and communication of the ethical and sustainability qualities of the product to the consumers. However, the analysis also shows the limits of cooperation in an environment dominated by the paradigm of specialisation, economies of scale and cost reduction, which is also characteristic for parts of the organic sector. The paper discusses if the challenges of establishing this radical niche innovation can be met without a fundamental change of framework conditions as e.g. regulation on animal husbandry.