General References to Get Started

These sources can give you basic background on agricultural practices

Green Food an A-Z Guide

Handbook of Agriculture

Strawberries (book on horticultural practices on order)

Tropical Fruits (book on horticultural practices on order)

Top Producers

Much can be learned from visiting the web sites of branded producers of your crop. To identify other producers check out the labels in your local market.




Del Monte


Trade Associations

Trade associations advocate for their industries but are also a rich source of information about industry practices.  To find additional trade groups search the Encyclopedia of Associations:  National or use Google.  Many trade associations are nationally based so expect them to be located in top producting/exporting countries.  Here is a list of just a few to get your started.

Kiwifruit Growers

California Strawberry Commission

Australian Banana Growers Council

North American Strawberry Growers Association

Organic Trade Association

Government & International Agricultural Agencies

Governmental and international agencies are excellent sources for statitics on production, consumption, trade, tarifs, subsidies and standards.

Foreign Agricultural Services USDA  This US government agency has a wealth of information of trade in fruits

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

OECD iLibrary Use the advanced search feature, search for your target fruit and limit to themes agriculture and food or Environment or Trade.

Articles about cultivation and business aspects

These articles databases will cover scientific, technical, marketing, supply chain and economic aspects of your target fruit. The library's general article search engine will also be useful.  Expect the articles to be narrow in focus because they are primarily scholarly.  The following list of keywords, phases and subject terms combines with your target fruit will facilitate searching.

  • distribution, logistics, supply chain, transportation
  • water, hydrology
  • soil, land
  • harvest
  • employment or labor
  • fertilization, pesticide
  • cultivation
  • subsidies, tariffs
  • standards, regulation
  • packaging
  AGRICOLA (National Agricultural Library/USDA)
Indexes materials acquired by the National Agricultural Library including books, journals, and government documents. Covers all aspects of agriculture and allied disciplines.

  BIOSIS Citation Index (Clarivate)  Tutorial
Indexes academic journals in the life sciences and biomedical fields. Covers pre-clinical and experimental research, methods and instrumentation, animal studies, and more. Coverage goes back to 1924. Formerly known as Biological Abstracts.

  Scopus (Elsevier)
Provides citations and abstracts to peer-reviewed journals, books, and conference proceedings in all major disciplines. Provides information on citing and cited references for each article.

  Worldwide Political Science Abstracts (ProQuest)

  Business Source Premier (EBSCO)
Provides access to a wide range of academic business journals and trade magazines. Topics include management, marketing, finance, economics, and management information systems. Full text access may be embargoed for up to three years. Coverage goes back to 1965.

  PAIS International (ProQuest)
Provides citations and abstracts for journal articles, books, government documents, conference papers, research reports, etc. in the areas of public affairs, public and social policy, and international relations. International in scope. Formerly known as the Public Affairs Information Service.

  EconLit with Full Text (EBSCO)
Indexes and abstracts journal articles, books, working papers, and dissertations in the field of economics based on the Journal of Economic Literature's subject classification. Provides access to the full text of selected journals including all American Economic Association journals. Coverage goes back to 1886.

Evaluating Sources

You will likely use a wide variety of sources for this project including corporate web sites, popular news outlets, government reports, trade associations, advocacy organizations, scientific studies, reference books and social science journal articles.  Whether you use a resource found via a library subscription database or on the free web take care to assess the document in terms of the following criteria.

  1. Objectivity/Bias:  Does the sources advocate for a particular point of view?  Are alternative explanations explored? Is objective data and/or reasoned arguments used to support a point of view?
  2. Audience:  Who is the intended audience?  Written for investors, the general public, specialized researchers or potential allies?
  3. Purpose:  Why was the piece published?  To inform, pursuade, advance scholarship?
  4. Authorship/Authority:  Who has written the document?  What are his or her credentials?  What is the reputation of the author or publisher?
  5. Documentation:  How easy does the author make for the reader to find out where data and supporting evidence is coming from? Are methods used to compile data transparent?

When using resources with weaknesses in any of these areas, try to find corraborating sources or signal that you are aware of the limitations and prejudices.

To learn about the authority or reputation of authors and publishers, search to see if and how the source or author are quoted and mentioned in the general press.  Make an appointment with a research librarian for help.