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Integrating Teaching, Research and Extension in the Supply Chain of the Lentil Industry

Investigators
Govindasamy, Ramu
Institutions
Rutgers University
Start date
2009
End date
2011
Objective
The overall goal of this project is to establish and develop a successful partnership between the Rutgers and the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka in agribusiness for education, research and extension to strengthen the value chains of agribusiness especially, lentils.

Educational Objectives

  1. Expose Rutgers students to global socio-cultural, economic, trade and geo-political environment and help them to understand how the supply chain of lentils works beyond the U.S. borders.
  2. Provide two weeks hands-on training to Rutgers students in Sri Lanka on lentils supply chain management and educate the students to impart practical experiences in their learning process.
  3. Educate the undergraduate and graduate students of the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya on key issues on global agribusiness marketing and specifically on lentil supply chain marketing with a focus on retailers/wholesalers/importers.
  4. Foster on-going research collaborations between the Rutgers University faculty and Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka and provide training to students in the area of supply chain management.
Research Objectives
  1. To document the evolving structure of the supply chain in the lentil industry in the U.S. as well as Sri Lanka, by tracking from the farm gate to port in the U.S. and from the port in Sri Lanka to the ultimate consumer.
  2. To analyze and characterize consumer perceptions and awareness of country of origin labeled lentils in Sri Lanka, document the willingness to buy and estimate the demand for such lentils.
  3. To develop an international marketing plan for American lentils in developing countries including Sri Lanka. The comprehensive global marketing plan will also include value adding opportunities, packaging, shipping, tariffs, permits, wholesaling, distribution and retailing.
  4. To enhance the knowledge of stakeholders of the U.S. lentil industry based on the development of the international lentils marketing plan and research findings by the students.
Outcome: Students at Rutgers will be trained in the preparation of an international marketing plan and are exposed to wholesale/retail global trading environment as well as they learn to conduct a consumer survey in eliciting information. Furthermore, the benefits of this exercise will also flow towards the American lentil producers to make better production and marketing decisions and be able to process, grade and brand the products to enhance their sales and profits. Specifically, producers and exporters in the U.S. will be able to target those consumers in Sri Lanka who is willing to pay a premium for branded and labeled products. This will enhance both the bottom line as well as top line of the producers and exporters of the U.S. Policy makers in Sri Lanka as well as in the U.S. will be able to identify and address specific impediments to the growth and development of the global lentil industry.
More information
NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY: This proposed international research, education and extension collaboration between Rutgers University and the University of Peradeniya in Sri Lanka seeks to 1.) teach Rutgers agricultural economics students about the commodity chain of pulses functions in both the U.S. and Sri Lanka and how to develop a marketing plan; 2.) increase U.S.-grown lentils exports to Sri Lanka; 3.) disseminate information to stakeholders associated with the U.S. lentil industry about novel student-developed marketing plans they can use to increase lentil exports to Sri Lanka; 4.) develop long-term research and educational collaborations between Rutgers faculty and students and those from the University of Peradeniya; and 5.) provide University of Peradeniya students with an overview of current trends in value chain analysis, marketing plan development, entrepreneurship, competitive intelligence, food safety, and traceability. Export of U.S.-grown lentils to Sri Lanka was chosen as the focal point for this proposed project since recent research and data indicate that there exists a greater potential for expanding lentil exports to this country market in the South Asia due to the increasing income and greater preference for lentils. Although U.S. lentil growers have increased their share of the Sri Lankan market (valued at $52M in 2007), they have not fully exploited it. Given this potential export opportunity, this project aims to understand the value chain and develop appropriate marketing strategies that are crucial in achieving a competitive edge in the Sri Lankan market.

APPROACH: The research team has worked diligently to guard against falling into a "silo mentality." While the collecting and dissemination of information gathered is listed under individual activity areas, data collection and information dissemination will be coordinated through a collaborative effort of team members and the industry-based advisory board. The industry-based advisory board will consist of representatives of major lentil grower associations and will help ensure that the research meets the needs of a much larger industry sector and the results of the research are effectively communicated to that sector. Each region (Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, and West Coast) will have an Extension representative on the board and all outreach materials will be made available through Rutgers Websites. Lentil supply chain is a complex web with number of activities, which includes a process, relationship and communication which leads to market development. Market development is the crucial activity in the supply chain management where consumers have a greater role to play. Consumers shopping pattern, willingness to pay a premium and willingness to buy a product play a crucial role in supply chain process. Therefore, through this collaboration it is intended to expose the students to a real life situation and help them to understand and apply their knowledge in issues that are crucial in the supply chain management especially from farm to the consumer. Some of these issues that they will be exposed comprises of process, collaborations, market analysis including wholesalers, retailers and consumers with respect to lentils and finally how to integrate all these in a marketing plan and disseminate these important findings to an audience comprised of stakeholders. The project team has decided on an integrated, cross-objective approach to data collection and focuses on segments impacted by the study. There are four general research objectives. Each objective has three or four target audiences / segments impacted. The international scope of this project adds a level of complexity to data collection design. Based on input from the project advisory board, the team will decide on the best approach for collecting data for each objective and their corresponding activities. Data will be collected primarily through a consumer survey in conjunction with test marketing in the stores in Sri Lanka. In the case of consumer survey, the sample size will be 300 in total. This sample size will help us estimate the national demand for lentils 95% confidence level with a margin of error of 6%. The consumer survey will be conducted by the students in Sri Lanka in conjunction with the students at Rutgers. Students at Rutgers will develop the questionnaire for use in Sri Lanka. Project director has coordinated such interviews in the past. Econometric models will be developed to identify the factors that significantly contribute towards willingness to buy country of origin labeled, branded lentils given the characteristics of consumers.

APPROACH: The research team has worked diligently to guard against falling into a "silo mentality." While the collecting and dissemination of information gathered is listed under individual activity areas, data collection and information dissemination will be coordinated through a collaborative effort of team members and the industry-based advisory board. The industry-based advisory board will consist of representatives of major lentil grower associations and will help ensure that the research meets the needs of a much larger industry sector and the results of the research are effectively communicated to that sector. Each region (Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, and West Coast) will have an Extension representative on the board and all outreach materials will be made available through Rutgers Websites. Lentil supply chain is a complex web with number of activities, which includes a process, relationship and communication which leads to market development. Market development is the crucial activity in the supply chain management where consumers have a greater role to play. Consumers shopping pattern, willingness to pay a premium and willingness to buy a product play a crucial role in supply chain process. Therefore, through this collaboration it is intended to expose the students to a real life situation and help them to understand and apply their knowledge in issues that are crucial in the supply chain management especially from farm to the consumer. Some of these issues that they will be exposed comprises of process, collaborations, market analysis including wholesalers, retailers and consumers with respect to lentils and finally how to integrate all these in a marketing plan and disseminate these important findings to an audience comprised of stakeholders. The project team has decided on an integrated, cross-objective approach to data collection and focuses on segments impacted by the study. There are four general research objectives. Each objective has three or four target audiences / segments impacted. The international scope of this project adds a level of complexity to data collection design. Based on input from the project advisory board, the team will decide on the best approach for collecting data for each objective and their corresponding activities. Data will be collected primarily through a consumer survey in conjunction with test marketing in the stores in Sri Lanka. In the case of consumer survey, the sample size will be 300 in total. This sample size will help us estimate the national demand for lentils 95% confidence level with a margin of error of 6%. The consumer survey will be conducted by the students in Sri Lanka in conjunction with the students at Rutgers. Students at Rutgers will develop the questionnaire for use in Sri Lanka. Project director has coordinated such interviews in the past. Econometric models will be developed to identify the factors that significantly contribute towards willingness to buy country of origin labeled, branded lentils given the characteristics of consumers.

Funding Source
Nat'l. Inst. of Food and Agriculture
Project source
View this project
Project number
NJE-2009-01004
Accession number
218402
Categories
Chemical Contaminants
Bacterial Pathogens
Natural Toxins
Policy and Planning