Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Regional Science

Competitiveness in a Resource Dependent Region: The Case of Food Processing in Canada's Maritime Provinces

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Regional Science

Competitiveness in a Resource Dependent Region: The Case of Food Processing in Canada's Maritime Provinces

Article excerpt

Abstract

BROWN, W.M.: "Competitiveness in a Resource Dependent Region: The Case of Food Processing in Canada's Maritime Provinces".

One of the problems facing the Maritime economy has been an inability to add significant value to the region's natural resource output. This paper sheds some light on why this has been the case. It is hypothesized that there are significant differences between how low and high value added firms compete for markets, and that these differences point toward factors that hinder the region's ability to add more value to its resource output. Presented in this paper are the results of a mail survey of the region's food processors. The analysis shows higher value added firms tend to rely on more advanced factors and strategies to establish and maintain markets, and that it is likely that there are significant constraints on their ability to pursue them effectively.

Resumes

BROWN, W.M.: "Competitiveness in a Resource Dependent Region: The Case of Food Processing in Canada's Maritime Provinces". [Competitivite dans une region dependente des ressources: le cas de la transformation alimentaire dans les provinces maritimes du Canada][??].

Un des problemes de l'economie des Maritimes est son incapacite d'assurer une plus grande valeur ajoutee aux produits du secteur des ressources. Cette etude explique en partie l'origine de cette difficulte. L'auteur formule l'hypothese qu'il y a des differences marquees dans la facon de commercialiser les produits entre les firmes a haute valeur ajoutee et celles a faible valeur et que ces differences sont attribuables a certains facteurs qui font que la region des Maritimes connait certaines difficultes en ce domaine. L'analyse demontre que les firmes a haute valeur ajoutee font appel a des facteurs et des strategies de haut niveau pour etablir et maintenir leur part de marche et peu de firmes dans les Maritimes sont en mesure de mettre en oeuvre des strategies de ce genre.

Canada's Maritime provinces (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island) have long been identified within Canada as a have not region. Although there are indications that the region has begun to close the gap over the past 30 years (Milne and Tucker 1993; and Savoie 1992), in many regards the future of its resource based economy is in more question now than it has ever been. There are three challenges facing the Maritimes' economy. First, the region's limited resource base has not provided an acceptable level of income or employment. (1) Second, commodity production is inherently vulnerable to outside competition, and the liberalization of North American and world trade is expected to increase competition further. Third, the nation's ability to financially support the Maritimes will become increasingly difficult as federal and provincial governments are forced to address their debt problems. These economic problems are not unique, but are similar to those of other lagging regions of Canada (for example, Eastern Quebec and Northern Ontario) and the world (for example, Southern Italy and parts of Scotland and Wales). Therefore, the conclusions drawn here may have implications beyond the Maritime provinces.

In order to reduce regional disparities the federal government has implemented a series of regional development programs since the late 1950s (for detailed reviews of these policies, see Savoie 1992). Although these initiatives have included a wide array of policies, the most consistent policy instrument has been industrial incentives.

However, on balance these policies have been viewed as being ineffective (O'Farrell 1990; Savoie 1992; Milne 1995) and do not address the structural problems facing peripheral regions (Meyer-Krahmer 1985). This has led some to argue that policies should be oriented towards the promotion of pre-existing industries (Savoie 1992; Meyer-Krahmer 1985). That is, the focus should be on industries that draw their competitive strength from the region's inherent advantages. …

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