SUFISA conference, Tuesday, March 19, 2019


Workshop 1.1

 Supply chain arrangements: new perspectives from European agri-food economies (convened by Damian Maye, Mauro Vigani, Hannah Chiswell (UoG, UK) and Pierre-Marie Aubert (IDRI, France))

Introduction to the session

Agricultural markets have always been characterised by uncertainty. Nevertheless, agricultural sectors are likely to become more volatile and market-orientated in the future, with reduced state intervention. This session examines supply chain arrangements (vertical and horizontal) that enable producers in different sectors to manage commodity markets. Key research findings from the SUFISA project and related H2020 projects will be presented to assess how supply chain arrangements are evolving and perceived by farmers and other food chain stakeholders now and in the future. Louise Manning will then comment on the insights these new data reveal regarding sustainable supply chain arrangements. Participant will also be encouraged to share their own experiences and insights.

Paper 1: “Agricultural commodity markets and new forms of institutional governance”

Damian Maye1, Mauro Vigani1, Hannah Chiswell1, Erik Mathijs2, Isabelle Bonjean2 and James Kirwan3 (SUFISA project, 1University of Gloucestershire, UK; 2University of Leuven, Belgium; 3 University for Sustainable Development Eberswalde, Germany)

Abstract. This paper conceptualises emerging agri-economic geographies as new forms of institutional governance. More specifically, we highlight the role of contractualisation (vertical relations) and the evolution of cooperative forms of governance (horizontal relations) in agri-food economies, and their potential to create new spaces of agri-food governance that enable producers to manage market uncertainty and increased exposure to global economic relations. Findings from SUFISA are presented to support this argument, with analysis of new forms of institutional governance examined empirically by extensive qualitative and quantitative analysis of agricultural commodity markets in different European regions. The analysis shows how forms of contractualisation, collective action, the use of market data, futures and risk management strategies are emerging at the farm and food chain level.

Paper 2: “Factors Affecting the Successful Implementation of Direct to Consumer (D2C) Food Business Models: Evidence from Small-Scale Farmers and Fishers”

Barbara Tocco, Matthew Gorton, Jeremy Phillipson, Richard Freeman and Gunnar Vittersø (Strength2food project, Newcastle University, UK)

Abstract. In light of increasing concentration in downstream industries, power imbalances and concern regarding unfair trading practices, as well as a desire to better valorise quality, interest has grown in alternative food supply chain arrangements. This includes Direct-To-Consumer (D2C) business models, whereby producers establish their own exchange relationships with end consumers. Drawing on interview and survey evidence with farmers, fishers, fishmongers and customers in the UK, this paper identifies five factors affecting successful implementation of a D2C business model: product characteristics (including implications for last mile costs), capabilities, organizational and network resources, vision and social values, and market opportunities. Successful implementation of a D2C business model typically requires far more than development of a new marketing channel but rather the realization of secondary value-capturing opportunities (servitization) and a drastic transformation of producer-consumer relationships. This represents a fundamental challenge to primary producers in terms of their capabilities, resources, vision and values.

Paper 3: “Sustainable transition in a context of market uncertainty: what tools for farmers? Insights from a scenario exercise”

Aubert, PM, Loveluck, W., Gardin, B., Schwoob, MH, Treyer, S. (Sufisa project, Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations, France)

Abstract. This paper draws on a series of 26 scenario participatory workshops held across 11 European countries to highlight the potential role of different policy tools and collective strategies in driving sustainable transitions of farmers. It shows that while supply chain arrangements will certainly play a key role to help farmers coping with growing market uncertainty and become economically more resilient, achieving a fully sustainable transition (taking into account all three pillars of sustainability) will require much more than an evolution of food chain governance.

Discussant: Louise Manning, Royal Agricultural University, UK

Workshop 1.2

Evidence-based Policy: How Experiments can improve the CAP Evaluation tool box


Workshop 2.1


Chair: Susanne von Muenchausen

More details on this session follows later


Workshop 2.2

Responding to change – strategies in a diverse and evolving landscape

A significant task in agro-food studies is to understand how different farming systems respond to regulatory interventions and how regulatory interventions can be used to promote resiliency. However, farming systems often do not respond similarly to the same change of conditions, but the response depends on contextual differences like infrastructure, technological configuration of the farms, value-chain dynamics, competencies of the farmers, as well as local political- and economic factors. This session will use the case of the changing conditions for European dairy producers to explore the how different configurations of farming systems respond to these changes. The dairy sector is particularly interesting because as a number of recent events have resulted in a volatile dairy market. The gradual reduction of the CAP and the recent abolition of the milk quota system, which was installed in 1984, has resulted in a much more market-oriented sector. The abolition of the milk quota coincide with a number of other factors that influence the dairy price including a reduced Chinese dairy powder market, an import ban from Russia and most recently the 2018 drought. Participant will also be encouraged to share their own experiences and insights.

The session will fall in three parts:

  1. Presentation: Changing conditions for European dairy producers, Martin Hvarregaard Thorsøe, Postdoc Aarhus University, DK
  2. Presentations: Strategic response of European dairy farming systems – 4 short introductions
    1. Denmark, Egon Bjørnshave Noe, University of Southern Denmark, DK
    2. United Kingdom, Damian Maye, University of Gloucestershire, UK
    3. France, Pierre-Marie Aubert, Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations, FR
    4. Latvia, Mikelis Grivins, Baltic Studies Centre, LV
  3. Joint debate: “Sustainable strategies in a diverse and evolving landscape?” Moderated by Talis Tisenkopfs, Baltic Studies Centre, LV


Workshop 3.1

Territorial differentiation. Novel pathways for regional agricultural policies.

Chairs: Fabio Bartolini (UNIPI), Daniele Vergamini (UNIPI)

Round Table with Fabio Bartolini (UNIPI), Daniele Vergamini (UNIPI), Jose Muñoz-Rojas (University of Evora)

Workshop 3.2

Financial instruments, agricultural processes and Future expectations – forecasting – what steers our expectations ?

Chairs: Egon Noe (SDU), Mikelis Grivins (BSC) and Martin Thorsoe (AU)