The agricultural market is subject to state intervention. In principle, however, it follows the same pattern as every other market: supply and demand determine price and vice versa. Does this lead to the desired results?
Many people doubt this and believe, "When agricultural prices soar, as was the case in 2007, more people will starve somewhere on earth." "When agricultural prices are sliding, as in prior decades, farmers become impoverished and abandon their farms." Neither should we forget those consumers who are happy to snap up the "cheap offers" at the meat counter nor other consumers concerned about the fact that meat does not come from "happy" animals.
We introduce clarity into this tangle of diverse opinions. To be able to properly advise policymakers, industry and society, we – at the Thünen Institute of Market Analysis - look at both sides: Firstly, we analyse market functionalities and estimate future economic data as accurately as possible. This helps all stakeholders to position themselves early on and implement necessary adjustments. Secondly, we examine wishes, needs and behaviour of consumers at home and abroad. Our work lays the scientific foundations for more targeted design of policies.
For our schedule is therefore driven by leads the following main questions:
First of all our toolbox encompasses classical market analysis. We analyse how organisation, production, consumption, stocks, trade and prices develop for individual branches along the value chain but also for the agricultural sector as a whole. From this we derive estimates of competitiveness and global food security; often in association with other Thünen Institutes. Our most recent research area is consumer and society research. For this area we have, up to now, mainly used focus groups and surveys. Finally, we also need models, for reliable quantitative assessments of future market development. These models demonstrate the diverse interactions between the markets. We develop these models in international co-operation and link them with the farm and regional models in the Thünen model network.