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EC-Asia Research Network on Integration of Global and Local Agri-Food Supply Chains Towards Sustainable Food Security

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - GOLF (EC-Asia Research Network on Integration of Global and Local Agri-Food Supply ChainsTowards Sustainable Food Security)

Reporting period: 2018-01-01 to 2019-12-31

The proposed research will bring together researchers from a number of disciplines to address a global challenge in achieving sustainability and resilience of agri-food supply chains. The research targets solutions to the challenge related to a food security strategy debate on global sourcing and self-sufficiency. With increasing concerns about climate change and environmental impact and associated risks, further complexity has been brought into this argument on the supply and sourcing strategy issues and a number of key questions need to be answered urgently. From the business perspective, whether promoting the practice of local agri-food systems indicates efficient and sustainable resource use? From the geographical supply market perspective, whether diversified sourcing and international trade have promoted sustainable and resilient agri-food supply? These arguments should not merely lead to options of the geographical focus of agri-food production and sourcing strategies. Instead, the solutions require in-depth understanding of interactions and trade-offs amongst different locally characterised options and should lead to place based ecologically harmonious local agri-food systems demonstrating the sustainability value and contributing global agri-food supply chains.

For this purpose, this project aims to identify policy and solution framework to support local ecological system and sustain agri-food production, meet bioenergy needs and reduce waste, while best interface food and non-food input and output to global markets. Effective approaches will be developed to leverage the benefits of agri-food supply chains. The multidisciplinary group ranging from economics, management, science and engineering have been set up to form a strong platform for research and knowledge exchange to carry out this research.

Overall objectives of this research:
1. To develop sustainable food security strategies for resilient food supply through optimal use of resources and facilitate place/location based sustainable supply chain solutions;
2. To identify efficient and sustainable physical supply chain network configurations and to reduce food wastage and facilitate circular economics solutions through multiple use and reuse of agri-food products (food/non-food use, recycle, etc.) for enhanced sustainability.
3. To study of impacts of market and consumer behaviour on food security and sustainability and souring options in the agri-food systems.
The project GOLF started in Jan 2018. It includes 12 participants - University of Liverpool, UK (Coordinator), Liverpool John Moore’s University, UK, Wageningen Unviersity, The Netherlands, Molde University College, Norway, University of Hull, UK, Nong Lam University, Vietnam, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand, Zhejiang University, China, Global Biotechnology Transfer Foundation, UK, Dalian Maritime University, China, TVFood Ltd. Vietnam, Hoa Lam Co Ltd. Vietnam.

The project research activities have been conducted through 11 work packages for the tasks ranging from evaluation of agri-food supply chain performance and risk in the local circular-economy context, developing tools for design and implement sustainable and circular economy approach enabled solutions, developing collaborative strategies and optimal agri-food supply chains configurations for integrated local–global sourcing and distribution, to identifying impact of demands at global markets and local consumption on sustainability and developing solutions to waste reduction from the circular economy perspective.

The research has been facilitated by intensive research exchange of staff within the project consortium. By end of year 2, 113 person months of secondment have been completed, close to 50% of the overall 4 year target. The research exchange has greatly supported the collaboration of research and generated new research directions in the sustainable food security and circular economy area, benefited from knowledge sharing, capability building, extended research partner networks, and integrated research resources.

Overall, the following results have been achieved , connected to the project activities:
Fourteen case study reports were created through collaborative research during secondments. Research has been published in 12 peer reviewed international journals (another 4 under review or revision) and presented in 25 international conferences.
Four international conferences were organised and 21 were participated for presenting the project research outcomes. A large number of workshops and other relevant events have been organised or participated. These include keynote speech, presentation of the research, knowledge exchange, publicise project profile and outcomes to communities.
Five research proposals to the UK and international funding related to the project area have been developed collaboratively by project partners. One has been awarded and another two are under development.
Four GOLF project workshops have been held, organised by the GOLF project consortium. They were hosted by different project participants. The workshops enabled project result sharing, knowledge transfer, training of researchers and dissemination of the results.
Through the integrated research expertise platform built in the project, collaborative research has been carrying out through the research exchange with expertise from different areas at the hosting organisations, from agri-economics, operations/supply chains, to transport engineering and bio-science, new research area in integrated agriculture and aquaculture production for enhancing sustainability with circular economy approaches has been developed and currently research proposal has been jointly developed by the project participants with a network of researchers targeting to research funding calls. This research activity extends the originally planned GOLF agri-food research theme to develop greater research impacts on the food security.

At the project participant, Molde University College, the research with this GOLF project in sustainability of agri-food supply chains aligns well with the overall strategic plan for the College, which is to bring sustainability to the top of the research and education agenda. Thus, the participation in the GOLF project is expected to influence our future research and education profiles. Indeed, it is already becoming evident in the university hiring strategy. A new campus in the city of Kristiansund is becoming a centre for research on the logistics and economics of the biological sectors, in particular related to seafood.