Developing a new crop and successfully marketing it should be planned meticulously before commencing planting. Consider whether you want to go it alone, or in a group effort.
Some new crop developers work alone; others choose to work in groups. Those who work alone are often successful by keeping information to themselves and, in the short-term at least, profit from their way of growing and marketing the new crop.
However, because no business can operate independently of the supply chain for its product, sooner or later the success of the individual attracts competitors whose objective is to copy successful systems. Frequently, once the secrets of the individual have been learned, the system is easy to copy and intense competition between individual firms is the result.
The way the Chileans and Italians have entered the world kiwifruit markets on the backs of successful pioneering of the industry by New Zealand farmers is a good example of this process in action.
Competition usually reduces the returns to all competing firms and, if one partner competes to gain an advantage over the other, future hopes of cooperation are severely diminished.
On the other hand, new crop developers can choose to work collaboratively and they can choose to consider the whole supply chain as the “field” for their work. Then it becomes possible to generate and share a far greater range of data, information and knowledge and ultimately to improve the chances of success for everyone by making better decisions.
The choice of “best bet” new crops must be left to the participants. Best bets are influenced by self-motivation and the ability to learn and should be based on objective analysis in collaboration with other members of the supply chain.
Wishful thinking and excitement over the rare and unusual is a personal response that rarely translates to enduring market success. So consider carefully whether you develop your new crop alone or gather some more producers who are keen to mutually develop and market a new crop.