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Support systems for new activities in rural areas

Part 3 - Various techniques
The main ingredients of a
production audit

[Technical Factsheet 2]

How to use this guide & Table of Contents


The main purpose of a production audit
is to gain all the essential technical
information about the conditions of
production in a particular area in
order to be able to evaluate its
comparative advantages (strengths
and weaknesses) in relation to other areas.


A. Natural resources and raw materials

  • Volumes and types of products/resources
  • Varieties and other differential characteristics
  • Accessibility to markets
  • Seasonal fluctuations
  • Yields
  • Inputs required
  • Prices


B. Production processes and costs

For each main stage or step of production:

  • A brief description
  • Equipment and technology required
  • Outputs and yields
  • Requirements for labour
  • Other inputs
  • Time taken


C. Project promoter(s)

It is useful to produce a map for each project promoter covering:

  • Personal characteristics and motivation
  • Experience
  • Resources
  • Production characteristics (in the case of collective projects)
  • Common interests and potential conflicts

More detailed questionnaires and checklists can be found in the "Methodology guide for evaluating a territory's touristic potential" (op. cit.).





1. Introduction

    1.1 Objectives

      12 trout farmers initially came together to eradicate certain illnesses affecting their fish. They were interested in exploring the viability of a quality label and organising the joint promotion and marketing of their products. In order to do this, they first decided to commission a production audit.

    1.2 The producers involved

      A list of the 12 producers and their names.

2. Production

    2.1 The characteristics of the trout farms

      Age, size, employment, production cycle covered, volumes and sales. Together, the 12 producers have a total output of 2100 tonnes and a turnover of ECU 7 million. However, there are major differences, with two of the largest producers being responsible for 80% of total sales.

    2.2 Technology and production process

      Quality of the water, machinery and equipment, duration and main phases of production, food and other inputs, health and safety aspects.

3. Commercialisation

    3.1 Products

      Portioned rainbow trout accounts for 50% of sales.

    3.2 Distribution channels

      Approximately one third of sales are through supermarkets, one third through wholesale distributors and 22% through other fish farms. The breakdown is proportional to the size of the farms.

    3.3 Prices

      Price ranges and margins for each product depend on the distribution channel used. There are major differences between producers.

4. Producer attitudes towards the collective project

    4.1 Interest and motivation

      All are interested in a quality label, but for different reasons: some would like to gain more independence from intermediaries, others are looking for a way of achieving the volumes required by the supermarkets.

    4.2 Expectations and objectives

      Producers indicated that they gave more importance to joint promotion and marketing, followed by joint production to cover certain gaps in product ranges. They gave less importance to collective systems for technical assistance.

    4.3 Producer criteria for a quality labelP

      The different factors to be taken into account were ranked in order of importance: water quality, length of the production cycle, low population density, quality of feed and water, fat content, etc.

    4.4 Main criteria for promotion

      The producers valued the aspects they thought should be used to differentiate their products from 1 to 5. Coming from a mountain area and using natural processes was seen as more important than geographical identity (i.e. the Basque Country).

    4.5 The joint project

      The organisation, volume, turnover, products, equipment, staff and legal form.

    4.6 Producer commitment to the project

      In time and money.



A 28-page easy to read report with plenty of graphics and concrete examples provides the key information necessary for creating a group of producers.



    Half-day senior consultant ECU 390
    Junior consultant (7 days) ECU 2730
    Travel ECU 625
    TOTAL ECU 3745

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