SWOT Analysis of the Vegetable and Fruit Programs in Texas

Thursday, July 25, 2013: 9:15 AM
Desert Salon 4-6 (Desert Springs J.W Marriott Resort )
Daniel I. Leskovar , Texas A&M AgriLife Research, Uvalde, TX
Marco Palma , Agricultural Economics, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
Bhimanagouda S. Patil , Department of Horticultural Sciences, Texas A&M University, Vegetable & Fruit Improvement Center, College Station, TX
The analysis of internal and external forces affecting the Vegetable and Fruit (V&F) programs in Texas A&M AgriLife and the current state of the Texas V&F industry is the first step in the development of a strategic planning for the Vegetable and Fruit Industry in Texas. First, internal knowledge-based regional workshops were conducted at Uvalde and College Station and a consolidated online survey was developed for research and extension faculty engaged in V&F programs. Second, external regional industry workshops were conducted in four important V&F growing areas in Texas: McAllen (Lower Rio Grande Valley), Uvalde (Wintergarden), Lubbock (High Plains), and El Paso (West Texas). The internal survey questions were grouped by the level of activity engaged by faculty, by top priorities issues that needed additional resources to increase AgriLife impact, and by the specific SWOT components (S = strengths, W = weaknesses, O = opportunities, T = threats). Furthermore, the internal survey also provided categorical information of the respondents such as department affiliation, location, primary discipline, and professorial rank. The external survey provided data on specific crops grown, area per crop, type of production (conventional and/or organic), annual gross sales, marketing channels and SWOT components. Other data obtained included: familiarity of growers with Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension, technical assistance sources, programmatic values of research, extension and educational programs, future breeding, and growers support for programs. Finally, the survey gave demographic information of the respondents such as age, gender and number of years in business. A total 87 participants and 80 stakeholders responded the internal and external survey, respectively. The external survey instrument was successful in identifying an important segment of the V&F industry (95,000 acres) in Texas with a distribution of 75% to 25% of conventional-organic growers. This presentation will discuss the level of programmatic pre- and postharvest activities, top priority issues, competitive advantages of the Agency (strengths), conditions favorable to achieve goals (opportunities), internal limitations that hinder the Agency progress (weaknesses), and external conditions harmful in achieving goals (threats). We will present the main strengths that contribute to the success of the V&F industry and the broad opportunities for achieving success (i.e. technology advances applied to agriculture, applied long-term research, education and outreach, pre- and post-harvest technology advances). We acknowledge J. Landivar, P. Rosson, and M. Dozier as planning committee members and B. McCutchen, Executive Associate Director, Texas A&M AgriLife Research.