Social Aspects of the Impact of Information and Communication Technologies on Agri-Food SMEs in Wales

Brychan Thomas, Adrian Sparkes, David Brooksbank, Robert Williams
  • Outlook on Agriculture, March 2002, SAGE Publications
  • DOI: 10.5367/000000002101293840

What is it about?

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) need to adapt and change to remain competitive in the rapidly changing business environment of the twenty-first century. As with many other industries this is evident in the agri-food industry in Wales, where agri-food SMEs can obtain a competitive advantage through the use of information and communication technologies (ICT), especially the Internet and Websites. It is argued that many of these firms are often inadept at implementing changes that are technology-enabled. Policy makers, including the Welsh Agri-Food Partnership, also recognize that the agri-food culture is adversarial in nature and this needs to be addressed if technical advancement is to be achieved. With the recognition of the importance of e-business in other industries, there is a danger that many agri-food SMEs will be technology-disabled. The aim of this paper, therefore, is to explore the social consequences of the slow adoption of the Internet and Websites by agri-food SMEs in Wales and to consider ways of overcoming this problem. The paper concludes by reporting on ICT assistance provided by support schemes in Wales and on the social, political and cultural implications for farming communities.

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The following have contributed to this page: Dr Rob Williams