Are our agri-food supply chains in crisis?

The world is going through more than just turbulent times, with what I would describe as a toxic cocktail of the aftermath of COVID lockdowns and related measures, rising inflation, an energy crisis in Europe, the Ukraine war, and global climate change measures reducing agriculture production by leading agriculture exporting countries. The result of this cocktail is an unfortunate reduction in global agri-food production, export, and rapidly increasing agri-food commodity prices.

Our agri-food supply chains are in crisis, and we need to relook how best to organise a country’s agri-food system and optimise agri-food supply chains locally, regionally, and globally.

The way forward for future agri-food supply chains is based on four pillars:

  1. self-sufficiency at a national level in agri-food production will become an important key performance indicator.
  2. the development of agri-food production clusters to increase agri-food production and meet local and regional agri-food needs. An agri-food cluster is a complete agri-food ecosystem, a geographical concentration of interconnected companies and institutions with a particular agri-food focus providing as complete a value chain as possible.
  3. urban farming initiatives are required to create local agri-food production capacity in cities and metropoles of easy to grow, high volume agri-food produce, such as lettuce and tomatoes. These need to leverage building rooftops for basic farming and bee hives, as well as more advanced aquaculture and vertical farming inside buildings using the latest technologies in lighting, water, and nutrition management.
  4. food waste programmes are urgently needed to reduce food waste.

The bottom line is that the redesign of the agriculture sector and agri-food supply chains will need to become a high priority agenda for national and local governments to address. This can be a complex puzzle to solve with many stakeholders to make this transformation a success.

To read the full article visit LogiSYM April 2023 magazine, the magazine for supply chain executives.