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The Feasibility of Innovative Institution Management to Produce Eco-Potatoes: A Study Based on Customers' Perspectives
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This study was taking fresh potato industry as an example, exploring consumers' perspectives on purchasing fresh potatoes based on the idea of eco-agriculture. Meanwhile, via interviewing the relevant farmers' organizations, we hope to understand the current status of eco-agriculture application; in terms of different institutional structures of cultivating eco-potatoes in Taiwan. On the other hand, this study is also targeted at understanding thoroughfare' perspective (the concerning factors) i.e. A-Mart and Carrefour when purchasing fresh potatoes from producers. The analyses of total 400 questionnaires sent at seven thoroughfares in Taichung did not show significant differences that higher education consumers would take eco-labels or eco-friendly attribute seriously when picking up potatoes; instead, price and appearance of the potatoes were much more important. It implies that eco-potatoes cultivated under innovative institution management have not yet built up a strong image in consumers' mind. By interviewing and comparing the two major farmers' organizations which conduct the business in potato production, the research discovered farmer's organizations which had consensus, processing relative large-land scale and managing the institution innovatively would be much able to make the three aspects of eco-agriculture characteristic applicable, though various institutional patterns were preformed differently. Although to most of consumers when they were purchasing potatoes in the hypermarkets, they were not aware of the infra-structure of the farmers' organization, the institutional structures and/or management might influence the environment of cultivation and food safety. Result of interview with thoroughfares i.e. A-Mart and Carrefour represented that both companies target at purchasing fresh potatoes under the umbrella of food safety. The strategy of different thoroughfare in purchasing, selling, and labeling of the products, would influence both consumers' purchase perspectives and the turnover of each company, respectively. Moreover, when domestic supply season closed to the end, the price of domestic potatoes might not be able to compete with the imported potatoes. Because of few thoroughfares and farmers' organization we interviewed with, these parts of results were only taken as a reference by this study. In conclusion, the weak resonance between supply and demands sides does exist as a problem to be faced squarely. It implies that it requires more time and endeavor to re-educate consumers about the idea of eco-agriculture.
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