Concentrated market power and information asymmetry within the South African dairy supply chain

Bandama, Maureen (2011-12)

Thesis (MAgricAdmin)--Stellenbosch University, 2011.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Concentrated market power and information asymmetry represent forms of market failure within the South African dairy supply chain. Following deregulation, instead of large numbers of buyers and sellers so that no buyer or seller holds significant amount of power to influence the market; and perfect information availability and accessibility, the supply chain is characterised by market concentration at processor and retailer level as well as information asymmetry. South Africa‘s number of dairy farmers has declined by up to 50% since 1997, and they face a small number of processors which have regional dominance. These processors sell to a concentrated retail sector which is the main distribution channel for milk and dairy products. As processors and supermarkets emerge as major drivers within the dairy supply chain; processors in South Africa utilise the information asymmetry to engage in anticompetitive behaviour while supermarkets exert their power through the conditions of sale in contracts with processors as well as the threat of in-house brands. Farmers have less bargaining power and receive lower farm gate prices than they would have in the absence of concentrated market power and information asymmetry. Consequently, these market failures are detrimental to allocative efficiency and the enhancement of equity objectives. By method of a literature based comparative analysis, this study investigates the nature and extent of concentrated market power and information asymmetry within the selected dairy countries namely; South Africa, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, UK, and USA. The dairy supply chains in these countries show a spectrum of government control, such as Canada‘s system of supply management, Australia‘s deregulated system, and the US system which is mostly characterised by government intervention. The study then analyses how the selected countries address market failure within the dairy supply chain. An analysis of agricultural and dairy policies and strategies within the selected countries shows that systems that are designed to consider broader social goals (equity) apart for economic efficiency are more successful in preventing problems of concentrated market power and information asymmetry. The ways that the selected countries address the problems of concentrated market power and information asymmetry are analysed for applicability to the South African dairy supply chain. Is it recommended that in order to position the South African dairy supply chain to address problems of concentrated market power and information asymmetry effectively, a departure from the strict adherence to the market, to move towards a reregulated system in which broader social and environmental goals are considered by multiple stakeholders in formulating policy and strategy within the supply chain is required.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Markkonsentrasie en inligting asimmetrie as vorme van markmislukkings kom voor in die Suid-Afrikaanse suiwelbedryf. Sedert deregulering het die getalle kopers en verkopers steeds nie voldoende toegeneem sodat geen van hulle genoeg bedingingsmag het om die mark beduidend te beïnvloed nie. Verder is markinligting se beskikbaarheid en toeganklikheid steeds ontoereikend. Die suiwelaanbodketing word gekenmerk deur markkonsentrasie op verwerkings- en kleinhandelvlak. Inligting asimmetrie heers ook steeds. Die getal suiwelprodusente in Suid-Afrika het sedert 1997 met 50% gedaal. Die suiwelprodusente verkoop melk aan 'n klein getal melkverwerkers wat die mark op plaaslike vlak oorheers. Hierdie verwerkers verkoop weer aan 'n gekonsentreerde kleinhandelsektor wat as die belangrikste verspreiders van melk en verwerkte suiwelprodukte dien. Die verwerkers en kleinhandelaars is die pasaangeërs in die suiwelaanbodkanaal. Die verwerkers gebruik inligting asimmetrie in onmededingende optrede jeens primêre produsente en supermarkte oefen hul markkrag jeens verwerkers uit deur middel van verkoopsvoorwaardes en afdreiging met voorkeur vir eie handelsmerke. Primêre produsente se bedingingsmag krimp en hulle ontvang laer plaashekpryse as wat hulle sou ontvang in die afwesigheid van markkonsentrasie elders in die aanbodkanaal en in die afwesigheid van inligting asimmetrie. Hierdie markmislukkings benadeel die mark se allokasiedoeltreffendheid en die bevordering van billikheidsoorwegings. Hierdie ondersoek behels 'n vergelykende ontleding van die aard en omvang van markkonsentrasie en inligting asimmetrie in geselekteerde suiwellande gegrond op 'n literatuurstudie. Die suiwellande is Suid Afrika, Australië, Kanada, Nieu Zeeland, Verenigde Koninkryk en die Verenigde State van Amerika. Die suiwelaanbodkettings in hierdie lande bevind hulself op 'n wye spektrum van regeringsbeheer, byvoorbeeld Kanada se aanbodbestuurstelsel, Australië se gedereguleerde stelsel en die VSA se stelsel wat die groter mate van statutêre regulering verteenwoordig. Die ondersoek fokus op die wyse waarop die geselekteerde lande markmislukkings in hul onderskeie suiwelaanbodkettings aanspreek. Die ondersoek toon dat daardie suiwelaanbodkettings wat ingerig is om breër sosiale doelwitte soos billikheid te verreken, en dus wyer te fokus as bloot ekonomiese doeltreffendheid, meer suksesvol is om magskonsentrasie en inligting asimmetrie te voorkom. Die wyse waarop die geselekteerde lande magskonsentrasie en inligting asimmetrie hanteer word geevalueer in terme van die toepaslikheid daarvan vir die Suid-Afrikaanse suiwelaanbodketting. Teen hierdie agtergrond word aanbeveel dat afgewyk word van 'n streng navolging van die vrye mark beginsel om die probleem van markkonsentrasie en inligting asimmetrie effektief aan te spreek. 'n Meer gereguleerde stelsel waarin verskeie belangegroepe se breër sosiale en omgewingsbewaring doelwitte in ag geneem word by strategie- en beleidformulering in die suiwelaanbodketting, word voorgestel.

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