A Global Food and Environment Institute will hold a joint Agrifood Supply Chains seminar between the Business School and the School of Law.
Speakers: Dr Deepak Arunachalam, Leeds University Business School and Professor Fiona Smith, School of Law
Chair: Professor Chee Yew Wong
Dr Deepak Arunachalam
Title: Blockchain technology and trust in global food systems
Abstract: In the current market conditions, environmentally aware consumers are looking for more sustainable products as well as more sustainable food supply chain systems. Food fraud incidents are widespread, and there is a growing trend of concerned consumerism, and the desire for alternative food network systems that can be trusted is also in demand.
But, food supply chains are extended globally and there is a lack of visibility and control over activities performed at various levels of the supply chain, especially at lower tiers. Traceability is a major issue in supply chain management. Concerned consumers not only demand quality products but information on how it is produced, process quality, sustainability compliance, human rights and so on.
In this scenario, the key technology that powered Bitcoin, the famous cryptocurrency, has naturally found its way to transforming agri-food supply chains. In this ongoing research, the potential use of Blockchain technology for increasing trust in global food systems is investigated. I will also briefly cover the significance of supply chain learning for Blockchain technology adoption.
Professor Fiona Smith
Title: Trade Risks and Fragile Agrifood Supply Chains: a problem of regulation? Abstract: Trade flows are crucial for modern just-in-time food systems to operate. Such systems rely on the unimpeded flows of production inputs, such as seeds and animal feed, together with outputs, like raw, semi-processed and processed food, so food is available for consumers on an as needed basis.
The UK governments post-Brexit food policy, in particular, is being designed to support this just-in-time food system and crafted on the assumption that imports of food can always be adjusted (up or down) in order to meet domestic demand that cannot be met by domestic agricultural production. Other governments, for example, those in low-middle-income countries (LMIC)- are also being encouraged to model their food policies in this way. Trade is therefore critical to the successful functioning of modern food systems and to the government policies designed to sustain those systems. This vision of trade is problematic. Just-in-time food systems rely on constant, uninterrupted trade flows. It is becoming increasingly evident that stable, uninterrupted trade flows cannot be relied upon in the future. In particular, the World Trade Organization (WTO)s rules have been instrumental in facilitating this cross-border flow of agrifood goods and services. Yet, the WTOs future is currently uncertain.
In this brief talk, I will set out how the WTO rules facilitate cross border trade in agrifood; and the potential risk to agrifood supply chains if those rules fail.