Johnson Researchers’ Work Published in Science

7/11/2011 3:05:00 PM

Paper addresses rapid change in food value chains in developing world


The Director and Associate Director of Johnson’s Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise are among a group of authors of a recent article published in the journal Science. The “policy forum,” titled “Research Principles for Developing Country Food Value Chains,” outlines six principles for advancing research in the rapidly changing landscape of food value chains.

Food value chains comprise agricultural production, processing, storage, marketing, distribution, and consumption—all the activities needed to bring food from farms to consumers. In developing countries, these chains are changing rapidly, due to population and income growth, urbanization, and the expansion of modern food retailing and distribution. For instance, consumers and regulators in developing countries increasingly demand that food products possess characteristics beyond price, such as specific nutrient content, food safety certification, and limited impact on natural resources. 

Regulators and food production firms are developing production and labeling standards to address these multidimensional demands. The paper’s authors developed six guidelines to support and advance this process.

“The article reflects a very multi-disciplinary perspective on the complexity of food value chains, and we were pleased to offer a strong business perspective to the article,” said Mark Milstein, director of the Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise, who is among the paper’s authors, along with Monica Touesnard, the center’s associate director. “Scientists, policy-makers, managers,  and others interested in value chains tend to focus heavily on the supply-side issues. However, the often overlooked demand side of the value chain can be a critical factor in ensuring value chains expand in a way that helps create economic value over time.”

The full text of the Science article is available online; it also was reported in the Cornell Chronicle.

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