COVID-19: What’s Next for Food Supply Chains?


By Sidhartha Bhandari, CropLife

October 13, 2020


Bhandari is Director of Program Management, Food & Agriculture Digital Business, at Publicis Sapient.


As COVID-19 continues to impact every aspect of society, the global food supply chain is being squeezed even tighter than it was before the pandemic hit.


Ecosystems are under tremendous stress to cater to an increasing world population. Urbanization, economic inequality, geopolitical conflicts, and climate change are further disturbing the ecosystem and emerging diseases with long, indefinite durations that are not just a growing risk but perhaps the new normal as pressures from food shortages increase.


Billions of people are now aware of the dangerous reality of zoonosis — the ability of pathogens, including bacteria and viruses, to enter the human population from an animal host as was the case with COVID-19. Zoonosis isn’t a novel problem given HIV originating from chimpanzees, Ebola and Marburg from bats, and swine and avian flu from pigs and birds, but given the uncontrollable global spread of COVID-19 and its direct impact on the food supply chain, many organizations including agriculture and meat businesses, as well as consumers, are severely concerned.


Agribusinesses must acknowledge the fact that new diseases are emerging with the potential to spread rapidly across the globe, and this will be an inevitable part of our future. Positioning organizations to proactively build and sustain business operations under such eventualities must be factored into business strategy and ways of working.


While the fundamentals in the Farm to Table chart pictured here remain largely the same for crops and livestock alike, in the long-term the social, economic, geographical and regulatory changes will force organizations operating in this space to rethink their strategy for sustaining their businesses during unpredictable times.


Here are the shifts in thinking that must be considered as businesses within the food supply chain look to evolve their strategies in light of the recent pandemic escalations:


Redesigning Food Supply Chains ...


Digitizing Supply Chains ...


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