“Insertion of Small Farmes into Technology-Enabled, Rapid-Response Fresh Food Supply Chains”
An important challenge under the new information-rich environments is creating efficient and shorter supply chains that can meet the demand for fresh fruits and vegetables at the right prices, with the right quality, with minimal waste, in spite of the perishability of these products. This should be possible by better accommodating the new market realities such as highly segmented consumer-centered demand. In this talk, we describe some of the characteristics that intelligent supply chains for fresh produce should possess to allow demand aggregation (at the origin) and disaggregation (at the destination) to make it possible for small farmers to directly serve distant markets in a close to optimal way. These supply chains would be highly flexible, market responsive and driven by an analytical engine built in an integrated information environment. The underlying envisioned environment encompasses supply chain planning, information, and technology-based tools that will help level the playing field for small and micro-growers as they compete with large, vertically integrated enterprises who already have access to efficient information and supply chain planning systems.