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Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Plant, Soil & Insect Sciences

Year Degree Awarded

Spring 2014

First Advisor

Wesley R. Autio

Second Advisor

Francis Mangan

Third Advisor

Richard Rogers

Subject Categories

Agribusiness | Agricultural Economics | Fruit Science | International Business | Marketing | Plant Sciences

Abstract

Latin America offers a marketing opportunity for fresh produce, since many countries are entering into global integration and international trade as part of their portfolio of economic growth. However, to take full advantage of these opportunities, many questions associated with the implementation of marketing approaches, fresh produce quality retention, and profitability need be answered before undertaking this business opportunity. When it comes to developing countries such as those in Central America, and in particular - El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala - language, culture, technology, competitiveness, regulations, poverty, and other barriers become challenges to enter these markets successfully. In order to better understand opportunities that this region may offer to Massachusetts apples growers, this study examines all aspects of the supply chain related to McIntosh apple consumption in Central America. More specifically, it analyzes the growing, harvesting, storing, packing, transportation, regulatory, and political issues associated with this relationship. McIntosh is an apple with red and green skin and a distinct juicy crisp flavor of balanced sweetness and tartness. It is the most popular variety in New England and can be produced well only in the northeastern portion of the US.

McIntosh apples have never exported to Central America; thus there is no information available to producers about this potential market to help them make decisions regarding export. This study addressed two research hypotheses: 1) if McIntosh apples are treated appropriately with the best pre-harvest and postharvest practices, no significant changes in fruit quality should be observed in Central American markets, and 2) if Central American consumers accept McIntosh, Massachusetts apples growers could export to Central America profitably. This study was conducted as a research pilot project by exporting a commercial container of McIntosh apples produced in Massachusetts to El Salvador. Two principle experiments were conducted: 1) quality assessment of McIntosh apples trough the supply chain and 2) price determination, which consisted of, collecting all the associated costs to ship a commercial container and the price consumers were willing to pay in El Salvador. This study showed that McIntosh apples can be exported from Massachusetts to Central America. If grown well, treated appropriately with 1-MCP at harvest, and stored at appropriate temperatures and atmospheres prior to shipping, McIntosh apples retain quality even with temperature variations and distribution barriers in the supply chain. In addition, exporting medium size McIntosh apples is profitable.

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