Collaboration for innovative routes to market: COVID-19 and the food system

Allbwn ymchwil: Cyfraniad at gyfnodolynErthygladolygiad gan gymheiriaid

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Dangosydd eitem ddigidol (DOI)

In a time of global crisis, existing systems are rigorously tested and placed under significant and abnormal strain. This paper uses Welsh case studies to explore how food producers in Wales have collaborated to protect livelihoods while also providing accessible food to the nation. Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the food and drink supply chain in Wales contributed £22.1bn in annual turnover to the national economy and supported over 200,000 jobs. The coronavirus pandemic however has put the food and drink industry, which is considered a priority sector in Wales, at significant risk. The hospitality sector, which turned over £3 billion in 2019 and is a key end destination for Welsh produce from small businesses, faced months of near total closure, with no certainty of when the sector may be allowed to resume trading as normal. This in turn has significant and long-lasting effects on the country's food producers, facing a decimated sector they once relied upon to bring their produce to market though stable and established supply chains and procurement relationships.

This paper explores how both producer-led and organisation-led producer collaboration in Wales has provided new and innovative routes to market for Wales' food producers as a result of the lockdown imposed by Welsh and British government to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The challenges faced by these newly established collaborations are discussed alongside the opportunities for longer term collaboration generated by these organisations which emerged to fill a specifically identified void in this unprecedented crisis. Two innovative, in depth, regional level case studies that have responded to this increased demand for accessible food are discussed. Users range from those choosing to buy local produce contact free, through an online click and collect service, to those most vulnerable, wholly reliant on a food box delivery scheme developed through cross sector collaboration at the outbreak of the crisis. This paper concludes that long term producer cooperation in the region is likely to be established following on from the short-term measures implemented as a direct result of the development of social capital during the Coronavirus lockdown, and further concludes that a crisis of this magnitude can stretch the current centralised and remotely controlled food system to breaking point. A number of lessons are highlighted which are pertinent for actions to integrate policy to support societal change and resilience, in order to prevent catastrophic food (in)access in the future.
Iaith wreiddiolSaesneg
CyfnodolynAgricultural Systems
Dyddiad ar-lein cynnar23 Rhag 2020
Dynodwyr Gwrthrych Digidol (DOIs)
StatwsCyhoeddwyd - 1 Maw 2021

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