From self interest to mutual interest

FARMERS MAY NEED TO UPDATE their business skills and broaden their outlooks to succeed at identity preservation. Report co-author Fiona Roberts says identity preservation involves developing strong relationships with other key players.

Growers typically form a group to meet the market's demands and members should be prepared to train in key skills, she says.

Generally, growers have traditionally operated independently and dealt with a central marketing body. Identity preservation, with its emphasis on off-farm networking, requires very different personal and business abilities.

"They have got to be able to move from independence to interdependence and that's very important, " she says. "They have to move from self-interest to mutual interest, working towards a win-win situation moving along the chain, rather than an adversarial relationship. "

Other ingredients for success are better communication skills, regular meetings, personal contact and information sharing, she says. Trust is also crucial. "Trust - how do you generate it? To distil it down, it's delivering on your promises.