ROLAND BERGER FOREWORD By Wilfried Aulbur, Senior Partner at Roland Berger

regulatory regimes continue to burden growers with administrative costs.

Growers reiterate these trends when asked about their most pressing challenges. Indeed, 46 percent of grower respondents in 2022 indicated profitability as their biggest challenge, with many indicating their profitability being most impacted by rising input costs due to inflation and an unstable geopolitical climate impacting raw material prices, such as fertilizers. Furthermore, 33 percent of grower respondents indicate that their most pressing challenge was labor availability, while another 34 percent indicated this was their second largest challenge. This is supported by data from Europe, where the labor input index for the agricultural industry has declined by 16 percent since 2011. Accordingly in the U.S., growers have increasingly turned to rely on international workers through the H-2A program, which has grown by more than 500 percent since 2005. This environment makes the progression of specialty crop automation technology increasingly important to the health of the industry. Automation technology has and will continue to supplement human labor and allow human labor to be redirected toward more high-skill tasks. Indeed, in 2022, 50 percent of grower respondents indicated having employees dedicated to the integration of automation technology. This indicates the first step in a broader agriculture

Wilfried Aulbur, Senior Partner at Roland Berger

Since the publication of our inaugural report last year, the challenges facing the specialty crop industry have become increasingly important. Indeed, in both the U.S., Europe and the rest of the world, minimum wages have continued to rise and the lack of labor availability has persisted. Furthermore, increasing inflation has put further pressure on input costs while

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