Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, International Agricultural Trade and Development, Germany
The paper provides first results of a ongoing dissertation about the impact of food safety measures on the economic situation of small producers in the Moroccan tomato sector. In the European Union which is the main market for the Moroccan tomato production food safety has a top priority on the political agenda and the importance of private food safety initiatives is increasing as well. This trend demands various compliance activities from suppliers of developing countries to receive further market access and stay competitive in the world food trading system.
The basic hypothesis of the work is, that higher food safety measures have a specific negative impact on the competitiveness and market participation of small producers. It is assumed that higher food safety measures lead to the exclusion of small producers from the export sector and consequently have a negative effect on rural poverty.
After two empirical surveys in Morocco, it can be said that it is important to distinguish between the impact of the official EU standards and the impact of the private initiatives. This difference can be traced to divergent impacts on the production cost structure. The official measures demand a high level of human capital of the producers and the organisational and information structure of the sector while private initiatives extend these demands by additionally arising direct capital cost on the producer level. The surveys show, that the impact of official EU standards on producers whether for small or for larger farms is, due to the existing structure of the export sector, neglectable while the increasing importance of private standards shows a tremendous impact especially on small producers.
The paper starts with an economic classification and definition of food safety measures. This is followed by an overview of the different standards affecting the producer level in the tomato sector in Morocco. An analysis of the economic impact of the measures on producer level will be discussed and will provide the basis for a discussion of structural and social changes in the agricultural export sector engendered by the increasing importance of food safety measures.
Keywords: Food quality, food safety, Morocco, SPS