How do we make sure supply chains can efficiently bring safe and nutritious foods to market?
The world’s growing population increasingly buys—rather than grows—the food that it consumes: We need to develop supply chains that efficiently bring safe and nutritious foods to market.
Food supply chains are the complex networks of actors, regulations, and incentives that create a pathway by which agricultural products become the food on our plates. Especially in low and middle income countries, food supply chains are notoriously inefficient. As a result, safe and nutritious foods are generally more expensive than less healthy food alternatives.
To fix food supply chains, we will need to work to improve regulations, create incentives, and support supply chain actors to create a system that rewards the production and marketing of safe, nutritious foods.
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of the food system in developing countries, and are especially important suppliers of food for low-income consumers. Building capacity for SMEs to bring safe and nutritious foods to market is therefore critical. But supporting these SMEs is seen as a laborious process and a risky investment.
Public private engagement (PPE) offers an opportunity to address the two biggest constraints to SMEs by providing 1) technical assistance and other capacity-building opportunities to increase know-how, and 2) access to finance through grant funding, debt funding or equity investment.
Improving supply chain efficiency is a win-win. Greater efficiency can both lower the cost of safe, nutritious food for consumers and can also increase revenue for actors along the supply chain. So how can actors from the public and private sectors help support and incentivise SMEs along the value chain to ensure that safe and nutritious food is grown, produced and sold to consumers?
The resources in this section look at some of the main barriers for smallholders and SMEs, and how PPE has or could help make it easier, more profitable and more financially sustainable for farmers, processors and retailers to bring healthy foods to market.