Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Brokers don't develop markets

No duh, but many producers think they do. The tilapia producers in the Philipines were told to develop value added products to enter the U.S. market, and don't use brokers. My brother-in-law is a great seafood broker and they have their place. Just not when it takes money to do marketing. They have a phone and a whole lot of phone numbers, besides knowledge and personality.

Some of these articles that I make a hyper-link to, for more in-depth reading, are about foreign producers trying to sell their products in the U.S. or some other distant land. Alaska is just as distant from the U.S. market as these other countries. Maybe just an hour or so by air closer, a tiny fraction of the shelf life of the seafood. So why not study what other countries are doing?

Nobody said the Alaska seafood industry had all the answers, well maybe a few people I know. These foreign product development and marketing initiatives are good models for Alaska fishermen. There really is a chance for fishermen to reinvent themselves. Seems like I've had to do that a number of times in my life. It's really common these days and, in fact, recommended by the experts. And the recommended time period is getting shorter all the time, as the world speeds up.

How long has the fisherman/processor/broker model been going on? When hasn't it? I don't think any broker can get away with stealing an entire pack anymore, but how much different is it now, than some of the old mind-sets?

Ok, enough broker bashing. To give them some credit they were the ones that opened up major markets for Alaska seafood that gave Alaska a few decades of very well-off fishermen. But that spoiled everyone: gave the industry a false sense of security about broker prowness. The competition has heated up considerably now too and those foreign market opportunities aren't the same.


Blogger Gizmo said...

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9:13 AM  

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