COVID lessons helping make food supply chains more resilient


Jon Condon, BEEF Central (AU)

July 30, 2020


MAJOR food supply chain partners Coles and JBS Australia gave some insights into the problems and solutions found in red meat supply onto the domestic market during recent COVID-19 challenges during a webinar hosted by the Food Agility CRC on Tuesday.


Food Agility CRC chief executive Mike Briers said agrifood supply chains were like nervous systems – being complex and inter-dependent, and requiring lots of different parts of the system working together for optimal health.


“Equally, we rely on complex systems to deliver safe and healthy food, just at the time when we need it,” Mr Briers said.


“Nobody needs reminding of the stresses and shocks that the food supply chain has seen this past year, including droughts, floods and most recently, COVID. The question is: how do we plan for them, and make our food chains more resilient, in the age of incertainty?” he asked.


He said this was the question which was driving the Food Agility CRC and its partners under its new ‘Mission: Food for Life’ project – a $10 million ‘moon-shot’ to build data and trust-driven confidence in our food systems.


We know that data and digital technology has a huge role to play in this, but so too does supply chain collaboration and trust,” Mr Briers said.


The three campaigns being run under the CRC’s Mission: Food for Life project were:


·         Identifying the critical intervention points where data and digital can deliver the greatest return on investment along the food supply chain

·         Putting data-driven tools in the hands of agribusinesses to help make long-term decisions for resilience, profitability, sustainability and risk management, and

·         Digitally connecting supply chains, creating end-to-end flows that build trust and flexibility to better adapt to shocks and grasp opportunities.


Under the Mission: Food for Life project, organisations large and small across the food system would collaborate to solve the industry’s biggest supply chain challenges, Mr Briers said.


“We’re inviting food supply chain organisations to co-invest with us to unlock the power of data and digital technologies to drive and scale these solutions,” he said.


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