3 Things you didn’t know about the agricultural food chain

Until it reaches the consumer, each food passes through four stages that make up the links in the agricultural food chain: production, processing, commercialization and distribution.

Phase 1: Production

In the case of fresh products, such as fruits and vegetables, the agricultural food chain starts with the farmer’s work, for which he needs raw materials, fertilizers, energy… A total that makes up about 70% of all production costs.

In this first phase, a wide variety of business structures come into play. Many of them are grouped around Fruit and Vegetable Producers’ Organizations (FVPO), which allows them to combine production tasks with storage, handling and marketing functions.

Phase 2: Processing

The next step, processing, includes reception, treatment, care, packaging and labeling. In the agricultural sector, cooperatives, Agricultural Transformation Companies (ATC) and corn exchange companies generate added value, since they also offer additional services of handling, preparation, transport and storage at controlled temperatures. In some cases they also include commercialization activities and delivery of the product to distribution centers.

Phase 3: Commercialization

In phase three, we discovered that there are other operators that are part of the commercialization and logistics process, the merchandisers. In Spain there is a network of 24 such areas in which some “3,260 companies work, which annually channel 8.4 million tons of fruits, vegetables, fish, seafood, meat and other products”, as explained by the public distribution company Mercasa, which also monitors the prices at which each product is sold in these establishments. Mercamadrid alone, for example, “has 222 hectares at the service of more than 800 companies installed there,” as Andoni Garcia, head of Organization and Agricultural Markets of COAG, explains to Newtral.es.

Phase 4: Distribution

The last step in the agricultural chain is the arrival of the food at supermarkets, stores and businesses, where the consumer can purchase it. The modernization of retail distribution has led to a significant improvement in consumer choice. The offer has been adapted to their interests and preferences, and the quality of the products has increased. The key, adapting to changes in their buying habits.

a person holding a box full of vegetables for the food chain


To analyze and discover trends in the economic activities derived from the various links in the agricultural food chain, agribusiness training is becoming increasingly necessary. The International School of Agri Management (ISAM), the first business school oriented to meet the present and future training needs of this type of company, is part of this effort.

This school is located in Almeria, a province considered in the sector as an ‘Agro Silicon Valley‘. More than 2,000 companies, including producers, traders, auxiliary industry, seeds, logistics and machinery are located in this area of southeastern Spain, according to the newspaper Expansión. Activity that last season 2022-23 reached 3.77 million tons of fruit and vegetable production and a commercialization value of 4,456 million euros, according to the provincial secretary of Agriculture of the Junta de Andalucía, José Antonio Aliaga.

If you want to obtain professional training in one of the best agribusiness hubs in the world, do not hesitate to sign up for ISAM’s International Master’s Degree in Agribusiness Management.

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