Research Capacity Building Event, 23rd - 25th November, 2015

Increasing resilience of agri-food supply chains

The event involved a wonderful representation from major emerging economies engaged in agriculture (Brazil, China, Colombia and South Africa) and developed countries (the Netherlands, UK and US). A relevant group of people gathering together and discussing agricultural supply chain in emerging economies. We have learnt a great deal from each other making new friends and meeting old friends.

This workshop focused on understanding the economic, ecological, biological and social factors affecting the Agri-food supply chain, and the interplay between these, to increase resilience of the food system at a local-to-global level. In this event, combining with the launch of a Newton Caldas project with the University of Los Andes in Colombia, we discussed the challenges facing the dairy and cut flowers supply chains there; learning from experience of other countries. The event also incorporated an ESRC seminar on sustainable approaches to food security.

Resilience means developing a ‘food system that works for everybody’, which would involve overcoming the divisions between competing demands between different human and non-human stakeholders positioned in different spatial locations (e.g. producers, consumers, suppliers, distributers, common pool resources). In many developing and developed world contexts, the globalisation of food systems has not been successful in assisting small holder farmers into capturing value from international food chains. This conference addressed what is required to strengthen the capacity of small holder farmers to capture value. For example, by strengthening regional food markets; ensuring household food and nutrition security; lowering the cost of living for poor households; shaping policy for food security and supporting smallholders into commercial agriculture. Concurrently, the capabilities of multi-national corporations and government agencies are now viewed by many NGOs as the way to scale the impacts for small holder farmers.

  • Agricultural/food supply Chain Management
  • Business Models
  • Common Pool Resources
  • Co-operatives & Social Enterprises
  • Institutional Logics and Diversity
  • Ecological Sustainability
  • Embeddedness
  • Ethos, Values and Principles
  • Food Distribution
  • Food Systems
  • Geographical Scale
  • Dilemmas of Growth
  • Power in Supply Chains
  • Isomorphism and Co-op Degeneration
  • Membership Dynamics
  • Policy Effects
  • Regulation


Micro-intensification at School Farm, Dartington, UK. Providing 50 boxes of organic vegetables on 2.6 acres of land using no-dig methods.

Source: Adrian Bailey

This event was also the Launch Meeting for the Project: Sustainable Supply Chain Management in the Colombian Agricultural Sector funded by Newton Caldas Institutional Link with Colombia. The participants on this project had the opportunity to meet each other better and understand their contribution to this recent established collaboration. The research team worked on defining methodological strategies for specific research topics, exploring what are the characteristics that increase or reduce resilience in the agricultural value systems. 

It also included the second seminar in an ESRC funded seminar series ‘Architects of a Better World: Building the Post 2015 Business Engagement Architecture’. The seminar series is a direct response to the United Nations Global Compact’s call for businesses and business schools to support the establishment of a framework for sustainable development. This seminar addressed the resource need of sustainable food and agriculture, food security, and the role of business in this regard. Given the launching of the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015, with the second goal being to ‘end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture’, the seminar is timely and complements the Newton Caldas project.

It is important for academics and practitioners to learn from each other and learn from the best practices and lessons of other countries. At BNV, we discuss the challenges facing agriculture in developing countries and solutions addressing the challenges and serve a platform and in the near future case database for academics and practitioners to learn the best practices. We encourage bilateral and multi-lateral collaboration between us in any form (faculty exchange, joint grant application, joint papers etc.) and seek to expand the network making new friends in the future.

Conference Speakers included:

  • Dr. Ximena Rueda Fajardo: Universidad de Los Andes, Colombia
  • Professor Bernhardus Johannes Van Hoof: Universidad de Los Andes, Colombia
  • Prof. Johan Van Rooyen: University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
  • Dr. Dominico Dentoni: Wageningen University, Netherlands
  • Professor Luís Henrique Pereira: FGV’s São Paulo School of Business Administration, Brazil
  • Professor Susana Pereira: FGV’s São Paulo School of Business Administration, Brazil
  • Professor Michael Bell: University of Wisconsin Madison, US
  • Professor Hongdong Guo: Zhejiang University, China
  • Dr. Marco Formentin: Bath University, UK
  • Dr. Batista Luciano: University of Northampton, UK

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