As agriculture continues to develop in the market, it becomes more recognized as more than just farming. Aside from production activities such as growing crops, it also involves processing and marketing activities such as safe handling of agricultural products and transforming them into value-added products. According to Marketing Resource Center (2020), value-added products are transformed from raw agricultural products. Like every other country, Guam experienced interruptions in the food supply chain due to the COVID-19 pandemic, emphasizing the importance of locally produced foods regarding food security and sustainability. This involves utilizing locally grown products to produce viable value-added products, which can target market expansion and open up opportunities for more income and potential export opportunities for Guam.
In the past few years, Guam has experienced tremendous growth in dragon fruit production, a high-value crop, by subsistence and commercial farmers. This project seeks to develop a dragon fruit association that will assist dragon fruit growers in producing, marketing, or selling their products. It also aims to educate safe handling methods aligned with Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and food preservation. Research on market development will create marketing strategies tailored to Guam’s consumer demand for agricultural products and value-added products. Furthermore, this project can provide the capacity to access adequate food for subsistence in times of emergencies and promote sustainable viability for the agricultural community.
Project objectives from proposal:
Objective 1: Develop and expand agricultural marketing channels.
To enhance the knowledge and sharpen the skills of local producers, farmers will be acquainted with key model strategies for (1) understanding the marketplace and customer needs, (2) designing a value-driven marketing strategy, (3) constructing an integrated marketing program, (4) engaging customers and developing customer loyalty, and (5) generating profits and establishing a strong corporate presence (Armstrong & Kotler, 2016).
Objective 2: A greater presence for value-added production and local food systems.
Developing a reputation for quality and extending the sales and distribution network for entrepreneurship, an association for Dragon-Fruit Farmers will be inaugurated to promote its advantages of nutritional quality, sensory attributes, and storage stability, upon which value-added products, such as dragon fruit jelly, can be derived for easy storage and transportation.
Objective 3: Position local marketing with good agricultural, handling, and labeling practices.
Incorporating farm-business practices into marketing techniques involves handling the product, communicating between farmer-and-consumers, and crop diversity or specialization. Partnering with different organizations, discussions will include harvest and post-harvest handling, quality, service, and payment methods critical to production consistency and supply (Hall, 2002).
Objective 4: Market food processes and techniques to producers to expand consumer choices, foster food system stabilization, and extend the availability of seasonal produce.
Information placement will facilitate potential in marketable options for food processing and the impact on local food systems. This is an interlinking extension on the prior project objective (SW09-067) to market several advantages, including food safety, preserved nutritional value, consumer convenience and economies of scale, and diversity in seasonal availability (Van Boekel et. al, 2010, pp. 1217, para 2).