Market Concentration, Producer Organizations, and Policy Measures to Strengthen the Opportunities of Farmers for Value Addition

Empirical Findings from the Austrian Meat Supply Chain Using a Multi-Method Approach

Improving market access and opportunities for value addition for small-scale food producers and family farms and properly functioning food commodity markets are among the objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals. Market structure and market concentration are important aspects that could make this goal attainable. In a case study, we explore the current conditions of pork and beef farmers in Austrian meat markets by combining a quantitative approach with qualitative inquiries. The quantitative analysis shows that the concentration of meat markets has been increasing in recent years. The rates of change differ in various segments of the value chain and across the types of markets. These results are the starting point for a qualitative analysis of the competitive situation in the observed markets. One finding is that in each market prices are set in idiosyncratic ways. Another one is that producer organisations are an appropriate means for small-scale and family-run farms to strengthen their position in the value chain. We conclude that policy initiatives to improve market access and value addition for farmers need to be complemented by targeted dissemination activities and that competition analyses should apply multi-method approaches similar to the one used in this analysis.