Why We Need Sustainable National and Global Food Value Chains - How Do We Build Them
Over the last ten years, the concept of value chains has turned into a new paradigm of delivering valuable products to markets and giving back to the economies, societies, and environment at the same time. Each industry has its own established procedures and practices of how value is added to a product moving from producers to consumers, but if we are looking at the agri-food industry, it is essential to highlight that the food value chains of the 21st century must be sustainable. This sustainability can be broken down into three parts: economic sustainability – profitability and value to all participants, from farmers and growers to retailers and consumers; environmental sustainability – having a neutral or positive impact on the environment; social sustainability – providing multiple benefits for society. Food value chains constitute complex, market-driven, dynamic systems where unified governance is vital. In this blog, we are exploring how national and global food value chains can be aligned and why we need this balance.
The Learning Curve of Building Resilient Food Systems
People who work in the agri-food sector know how many uncontrollable factors can affect the industry and are constantly learning to adapt. Before the pandemic, numerous examples have demonstrated that food systems can be resilient and flexible: re-establishing food production and distribution after extreme weather conditions and maintaining harvesting, processing, etc., while fuel supplies are interrupted. But 2020 did put all regional and global food systems to the test.
One of the main things we learned is that food value chains are fragile and vulnerable to sudden shocks. The need for a deep transformation to make food systems shock-resistant and build resilient economies is now in the spotlight. To achieve this global transformation, we need a multifaceted approach:
- Innovation and knowledge should connect private businesses and national shareholders. For example, the Canadian Protein Supercluster is doing exactly that by increasing the value of Canadian crops. The idea behind this initiative is to use novel processing technologies and solutions to build a stronger food system that will be able to enter and capture premium markets in North America, Europe, and Asia.
- Enhanced coordination and collaboration of farmers, tech experts, and policymakers on both national and global levels can contribute significantly to building a mechanism to balance shocks. For example, here in Canada exist numerous initiatives that we have covered in our previous blogs, like the National Index for Agrifood Performance and the Canadian Roundtables for Sustainable Beef and Crops. What’s more, a recently launched Food and Beverage Supply Chain Project will focus on strengthening Canada’s national food supply chain by creating a special platform where companies will be able to collaborate and respond faster to shifts in consumer demand.
- Managing waste and post-harvest losses is another point that requires special attention. This issue must also be addressed regionally and globally, and here’s what Canadians do to add to minimizing food loss.
From Gate to Plate, from One Household to the Whole World
It would be wrong to think that the transformation of food systems will affect only producers and retailers. Each individual is an active participant in national and global food value chains. That said, we can all contribute to building more resilient food value chains and increase their efficiency, improve food security, reduce environmental impacts, and more.
Here, at TrustBIX, we believe that only by working together and translating national experiences in affecting policies and regulatory frameworks into global shifts and initiatives can we create a world where we waste less, trust more, and reward sustainable behaviour. We invite investors to connect with us and discuss our take on a sustainable future in agriculture – for everyone across the food value chain and from Gate to Plate®.