$10m mission to support resilient food supply chains

Tuesday, 04 August, 2020

$10m mission to support resilient food supply chains

The Food Agility CRC is calling for agrifood and tech businesses to join Mission Food for Life, a $10 million initiative to build data-driven resilience in food supply chains. The initiative brings together a consortium to create data-driven solutions that help the agrifood industry to rebound quickly, reinvent business models and build resilience.

Dr Mike Briers, Food Agility CEO, described the last eight months of drought, fire, pandemic and geopolitical barriers as a “wake-up call” for agrifood supply chains.

“Compounding shocks are creating a future where the ability to rebound, reinvent and be resilient are the keys to prosperity. Those with the capacity to respond quickly via digital solutions and build new data-driven business models have the upper hand. The agrifood industry has been in low gear when it comes to digital transformation. Now is the time to accelerate,” said Dr Briers.

Dr Briers has launched the Mission Food for Life initiative via webinar alongside a host of agrifood, technology and service provider companies that have signed up to the Mission, including Kellogg’s, Coles, KPMG, Treasury Wine Estates and NAB. The launch included the release of findings from a study jointly produced by KPMG Australia and the Food Agility CRC. The study found that cybersecurity, better use of data and interoperability of technology and platforms were key areas to focus on.

Ben van Delden, KPMG Australia Partner and Head of AgriFood Tech, said a shift in mindset is needed for the agrifood sector to survive and thrive in the new normal. The inherent stresses on the agrifood sector are largely the same: climate variability, labour and skills shortages, environmental sustainability, shifting consumer preferences and global competition.

“Until now, the agrifood sector’s mindset towards these stresses has been more reactive than proactive, with resilience mechanisms built in after each bushfire, flood or drought. Reactive initiatives have left the sector exposed to shocks such as COVID-19,” said van Delden.

In order to enhance the sector’s underlying resilience, van Delden recommends investing in implementing strategies that leverage digital and data interventions. The report released by KPMG is a guide to the sector on where to focus development of resilience initiatives. Dr Briers described it as a “launchpad rather than a culmination”.

“We invite other businesses to join with us in tackling what is one of the greatest challenges of our time: how to keep food on the table in a crisis and beyond,” said Dr Briers.

For more information, download the full Mission for Life report.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Julia

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