The integration of the South African floriculture industry into the global market
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As a result of globalisation, firms across both developed and developing countries are experiencing increased competition. Globalisation has both positive and negative consequences for firms, and the net effect may depend on the manner in which the country where a firm is located participates in the global market. Both the global commodity chain (GCC) and global value chain (GVC) approaches assess countries' integration (either successfully or unsuccessfully) into the global market. The international floriculture industry is one that is constantly changing and has a highly competitive environment. These challenges require that its participants be successfully integrated into the market and constantly improve their competitive positions. The South African floriculture industry has become more integrated into the global market since it opened up its economy in 1994. Both revenue and employment in this industry have increased since then. However, South Africa remains fairly uncompetitive compared with its African counterparts. The overall aim of this study was to assess the impact of the global floriculture industry on both the competitiveness of the South African floriculture industry and its integration into the global market. The GCC and GVC approaches were used in this assessment. The literature study provided background to these approaches in the context of globalisation. A detailed description was further given to the attributes and challenges of the global floriculture arena, together with a delineation of the South African floriculture industry. The empirical study was conducted through a mail-based questionnaire, which was mailed to the members of the South African Flower Export Council. The response rate of the survey was 59 per cent and can be considered high for a mail-based questionnaire. The responses were analysed according to the elements of the GVC and GCC approaches. This enabled an analysis of the global chains that the exporters form part of. Hence, it identified the role players and variables within these chains that influence the ultimate income of the floriculture industry. From the empirical findings it was possible to determine the South African export floriculture industry's strengths and weaknesses. The conclusion drawn was that the South African floriculture industry functions successful internationally, according to the elements of the GCC and GVC approaches. However, the industry does not participate to its full potential in the global market and lacks competitiveness. These findings supported the assumptions in the literature study. Once the South African floriculture exporters become more export-oriented (i.e. shift their focus from the domestic to the international market), the industry's competitiveness will enhance. Becoming further integrated into the global market by increasing both the volumes and values of their exports can do this. Ultimately the exporters will be able to move into better and more competitive global chains (i.e. export more directly).