Interesting new crop ideas are extremely plentiful and by themselves add little commercial value to an enterprise.
In an uncertain environment, decisions need to be based on the best possible information and problems may only be solved by testing possible solutions through trial and error.
It is best to consider how to market your new crop successfully prior to expanding your production of it.
13 Step Commercialization Process
It is a good idea to follow the 13 step commercialization process as outlined below. By following this process systematically, new crop supply chain members can enter a market with a product, under a strict set of benchmark and monitoring conditions, and test its appeal to the consumer directly.
The steps are as follows:
1. Those willing to commit themselves financially to such development propose the new crop.
2. The backers acknowledge that the new crop development is a high risk adventure.
3. The backers recognise that there is a need to protect intellectual property rights.
4. The proponents assess the appeal of the new crop product to the potential purchaser, using all relevant available criteria and also with an indication of those criteria for which no information is available.
5. The group undertakes a theoretical assessment of the production potential of the new crop using all relevant available criteria.
6. Establishment of an integrated development group comprising producers, processors, distribution and marketing partners with research providers in a facilitation role.
7. Agreement within the group on resource requirements, expected outcomes, action plans to achieve them and proposed distribution of any profits.
8. Establishment of a process of project monitoring to identify and resolve problems quickly and efficiently.
9. Establishment of economic benchmarks and an agreement to abandon the proposed development if these have not been met.
10. Establishment of a system of review to determine whether the development is worthwhile and to analyse the critical contributions for success or failure.
11. Trial production for trial marketing.
12. Trial production for trial processing and packaging.
13. Experimental production, using properly designed scientific trials.
However, keep in mind that predicting which new crops are likely to be commercially successful in a general sense is probably a waste of resources. There are no generic best bets because new crop commercialisation systems behave chaotically, just like weather systems and market systems.
Such chaotic systems:
- are in a state of continuous change,
- are influenced by a large number of factors, each of which is changing as well,
- are strongly influenced by interactions among these factors,
- have feedback and regulatory mechanisms so that past behaviour can influence future behaviour.
One of the main reasons that the future behaviour of a chaotic system, such as a new crop supply chain, is very difficult to predict is because very small changes can influence outcomes in a major way. However, it is a mistake to conclude that because a system is chaotic there is no point in trying to manage it. On the contrary, managers who are better at making best bet decisions can prosper in such environments.
One way to improve the chances of making best bet decisions in new crop development is to base such decisions on the best possible information, evaluated in a non-emotional way, and to make these decisions in collaboration with other members of the supply chain.