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close this bookExporting High-Value Food Commodities: Success Stories from Developing Countries (WB, 1993, 119 p.)
close this folderIII. Synthesis high-value food commodity system ''Success stories''
close this folderSelected dimensions of commodity systems performance
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentCost advantages and product/service differentiation
View the documentAdditional performance indicators

Additional performance indicators

3.15 Several other important dimensions of commodity system performance are examined in the individual case studies. One of these concerns the development of domestic markets and consumption. In several cases, the development of the sub-sector has supported per capita domestic consumption levels of meats and fruits and vegetables which are among the highest in the world (Box 4). This pertains to Argentine beef, Mexican tomatoes, Israeli citrus, and Taiwanese pork and fruits and vegetables. Sub-sector growth has also contributed to rapidly increasing consumption of shrimp and poultry in Thailand and of shrimp in China. Growth of the Brazilian soybean industry helped to counter the country's deficit in vegetable oils. In contrast, the expanding Chilean fish, Brazilian FCOJ, and Kenyan vegetable export operations have not contributed to a significant growth in local consumption or an improvement in the domestic marketing systems for these or similar products.

Box 4: Big Eaters and Big Traders

Several of the focal commodity systems have supported very high domestic consumption of their products in addition to competing successfully in international markets. In at least three of our focal cases — Argentine beef, Israeli fresh citrus fruit, and Mexican fresh tomatoes--levels of domestic per capita consumption are the highest in the world. The following tables compare consumption levels for these countries and for other major consumers of the commodity(s).

Per Capita Citrus Consumption

Per Capita Beef/ Veal Consumption

Per Capita Tomato Consumption

(Kg./Year; 1989)

(Kg./Year; 1980s)





70 - 80

Mexico (1989)





40 - 45

USA (1990)





15 - 25



FAO Food Balances

USDA, World Livestock Situation

Cook et. Al. (1991)

3.16 A second area of impact has been intra-industry multiplier effects. In Brazil, the expansion in soybean meal production was an important factor in the growth of the domestic livestock industry, especially for poultry. With an improved feed supply, Brazil's poultry industry has emerged as one of the world's largest exporters. Similar intraindustry stimuli are found in the cases of Israeli citrus, Chilean temperate fruits, and Thai fish and poultry. In the former two cases, the major expansion in fruit production contributed to the rapid growth of domestic fruit/vegetable processing industries which themselves have become internationally competitive. In Thailand, by-products of the tuna canning industry have been used as feed in poultry and cultured shrimp production.

3.17 Employment-generation has been another area of significant impact. In several cases, including Chilean fruit and fisheries, Brazilian FCOJ and soybeans, Argentine beef and soybeans, and the Taiwanese food processing industry, employment has been provided for more than 100,000 people in production, processing, and trading activities. Employment in the food processing industry of Taiwan (China) is estimated at 1.1 million people. In several of the other cases, including Israeli citrus, Thai Poultry, tuna, and shrimp, and Chinese shrimp production and processing, employment levels are also significant between 25,000 and 75,000 people. As in the cases noted earlier, employment in many of these commodity systems has been geographically spread. In comparison, the employment effects have been much more limited and geographically concentrated in the cases of export-oriented Mexican tomato, Kenyan vegetable, and Chilean processed tomato subsectors due to the narrow ownership and participation base of the former case and the relatively small size of the latter two cases.

3.18 Although outside the scope of this paper and not examined in the case, another potentially significant set of issues concerns the impact of commodity system development on the value of land, on land markets, and on smallholder access to land. Evidence from Brazil, Mexico, and Chile suggests that the focal commodity export booms contributed to or accentuated patterns of land concentration and smallholder exclusion.

3.19 As discussed earlier, there are several sets of factors which are expected to contribute to the emergence and sustainability of internationally competitive food commodity systems, including (1) (international) market conditions and demand, (2) macroeconomic and sector policies, (3) natural resource and human capital endowments, (4) the development of physical, technical and social infrastructure, and (5) marketing efficiency and the coordination of production and marketing activities. These conditions, facilities, and institutions are discussed in turn.