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Enforcement mechanisms and governance structures to protect a region of origin lamb product

Melissa van der Merwe (Agricultural Economics, Extension and Rural Development, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa)
Johann F. Kirsten (Agricultural Economics, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa)
Jacques H. Trienekens (Management Studies Group, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands)

Supply Chain Management

ISSN: 1359-8546

Article publication date: 21 August 2019

Issue publication date: 21 August 2019




This paper aims to make an empirical contribution by investigating the enforcement mechanisms and governance structures required to protect and govern a regional food product when public certification fails. As one of the recent additions to South Africa’s repertoire of products with a designated origin, Karoo Lamb made for an interesting case study.


A conjoint analysis was conducted to elicit the farmers’ preferred enforcement mechanisms to protect the authenticity of the Karoo Lamb product. The investigation, furthermore, draws on survey data collected among 73 farmers, five abattoirs, two processors/packers and five retail outlets to evaluate the governance structures of the Karoo Lamb supply chain.


The results indicate that due to failed public certification that is governed by market-like structures, Karoo Lamb is better off being governed by hierarchical structures. These structures are expected to allow for a stronger focus on stricter enforcement mechanisms.

Practical implications

At the farm level, the Karoo Lamb supply chain requires better enforcement mechanisms to protect the unique attributes of origin and taste to ensure the authenticity of Karoo Lamb. This change towards stricter enforcement requires more hierarchical structures to allow for private or mutual enforcement mechanisms.


This paper contributes empirically to the governance structure knowledge base by analysing the enforcement mechanisms and governance structures needed to enforce and protect, the quality and origin standards of a region of origin product, Karoo Lamb, in South Africa.



The authors would like to extend their sincere appreciation to the Karoo farmers, abattoirs, processors and packers, and the retail outlets for their participation in the data collection process. This research was funded by Red Meat Research and Development SA and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.


van der Merwe, M., Kirsten, J.F. and Trienekens, J.H. (2019), "Enforcement mechanisms and governance structures to protect a region of origin lamb product", Supply Chain Management, Vol. 24 No. 5, pp. 561-573.



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