Last week, during a routine check, SpaceX's latest rocket exploded on the launch pad in a great ball of fire. The payload, a multi-million dollar internet satellite, was already mounted on the rocket and was completely destroyed in the explosion. So why is this bad news for smallholder farmers in Africa?
Food related companies are facing many challenges these days, including food safety, fraud, product quality and consumer trust. During the last few years, the sustainable sourcing of raw materials has also become increasingly more important. As a food company, your supply chain has a major impact on the environment and its stakeholders. Sourcing ingredients on the spot market is an option, but the supply of some commodities is threatened due to climate change and developments on political and societal level. For example, there are cases where cocoa farmers in West Africa are moving to the city and abandoning their fields because cocoa is not able to offer them a livelihood. In addition, as children of farmers also move to the city, many farms cease to be taken over by future generations, which in turn threatens the future supply of cocoa. The same issues are also happening in many other commodities, for example in the cashew business.
In order to create a fair income for all actors in the supply chain, sustainable production and trade systems are essential. For this to happen, long-term collaboration is needed, where all stakeholders in a supply chain work together, even pre-competitively, to improve quality, yield and smallholder farmer livelihood. Long-term collaboration also secures future supplies of commodities, vital for the production of many food and non-food products.
Understanding the world requires data to be analysed. The same applies for supply chains. If you want to improve the quality and sustainability of supply chains, you will need to gather data from all stakeholders in the supply chain and analyse it in order to make the best-informed decisions.
70% of all food in the world is produced by smallholder farmers. Nuts, cocoa, cotton and many other commodities come from smallholder farmers. Despite producing so much food, smallholder farmers often don’t have enough food for themselves and their families. If the livelihood of smallholders isn’t sustainable, the supply of their crops won’t be sustainable either. The good news is that smallholder farmers can be trained to become more sustainable.
On 10 March ChainPoint attended a workshop in Berlin, focused on reducing food waste in the Kenyan horticulture industry. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), about one-third of all food produced every year is lost or wasted. Taking into account the growing world population, which is estimated to reach 9 billion by 2050, food loss and food waste pose not only an economic and financial problem but also one that affects the survival of people. If food loss and waste can’t be reduced, food production will need to increase to such a level that it requires staggering investment.
For some, or maybe even most companies, the true impact of their supply chain lies beyond tier 1 suppliers. Suppliers of suppliers, perhaps even up to farmer level, can sometimes have the biggest impact in a chain. Therefore, creating sustainable supply chains often involves engaging with all stakeholders in the chain.