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Commercial Horticulture > Comm Hort Blog > Posts > Market Chain Analysis of Organic Foods in Alabama

‚ÄčThis survey of fruit, vegetable and nut producers in Alabama is part of one objective of a larger USDA NIFA grant titled, "Strengthening Organic Farming Infrastructure through Consumer Education, Market Development, and Integrated Extension and Research Programs in the Southeastern Region." This survey is part of a market chain study of organics in Alabama. Conducting a market chain analysis of organic foods involves identifying the sources of organic foods, the market intermediaries participating in the marketing chain, the consumers of organic foods, evaluating the growth in market sales of organic foods and the market and institutional factors that influence the marketing of organic foods in the state. Consumers, retailers and market intermediaries of organic foods will also be surveyed. 

Though no real data exist on Alabama market sales of organic produce there are about 29 organic food retail and wholesale distributors in the state. Hence, it would seem that almost all of the organic fruits and vegetables consumed and marketed are from out of state. Given that the organically produced crop market in the US is expected to grow by 14% from 2013 to 2018 (Daniells, 2014) it is important to place emphasis on the production and marketing of organically produced crops in the state so that producers can take advantage of this opportunity.

The goal of this survey is to determine the potential for organic production by Alabama fruit and vegetable producers.  We want to answer the following questions:  

  1. What percentage of fruit and vegetable production is currently being produced with organic practices? (Certified or non-certified)
    1. What is the potential for production in the future?
  2. What distribution channels are Alabama fruit and vegetable growers currently using for their produce?
    1. Does this vary by organic practices vs conventional?
  3. What constraints do producers face in producing organic fruits and vegetables?
    1. Specifically, what constraints do producers face in certifying organic?
  4. Are conventional producers interested in entering the organic market?
    1. What factors inhibit their entry?
    2. What characteristics do those interested in or producing organic produce have that differ from those not interested in organics?
  5. Certified organic production is relatively low in Alabama, but are a significant portion of fruit and vegetable farmers using organic practices?
    • For those non-certified organic growers, how do their size and marketing strategies compare to certified organic and conventional growers? 
    • My hypothesis here is that since Alabama's fruit and vegetable market is growing, it may be composed of many small producers who choose direct marketing to consumers. In that case, it probably doesn't make sense for them to certify organic. 

Here is the survey link

This link also has some more info and a link to the survey:


Brittney Goodrich

Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist

Agricultural Risk Management & Economics

Dept. of Agricultural Economics & Rural Sociology

Auburn University


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