Innovation in the By-ProdUct Supply chain of citrus in Mediterranean area
The agricultural food supply chain (FSC) has numerous efficiency and sustainability issues, such as high levels of wasted food, low consideration of environmental factors, high water consumption, or uncertain demand and supply due to weather conditions. With this comes the challenge for food producers, industry participants and governments to sustainably produce enough food for the estimated 9 billion people by the year 2050. Hence, it is important to increase efficiency in FSCs and drive innovations. However, the adoption of innovations is limited due to horizontal and vertical fragmentation of the value chain and a lack of integration among the actors (efficient industrial symbiosis). This is especially true for citrus supply chains in the Mediterranean region because of the relative weight of the sector and its adverse impacts.
There is a scarce availability of applied research on innovation adoption by the FSC actors, and the need to increase operational efficiency through new business models. ImPUlSe aims to address these research gaps to ensure socio-economic sustainability and food security in the Mediterranean region.
Our international and interdisciplinary consortium aims to achieve this by designing innovative supply chains of citrus by-products in the Mediterranean region considering
- the socio-economic situation of the actors along the value chain,
- state of the art (digitalization),
- organizational innovation and integration of production and distribution within Circular Economy (CE) principles.
The project furthermore aims to create the basic conditions for economic growth and competitiveness for small-scale farmers with innovative, scalable, and sustainable business models based on
- resilient and well-managed supply chains,
- production of safe, high-quality and healthy food,
- efficient use and management of resources as well as effective market mechanisms,
- social innovation and social entrepreneurship,
- innovative technologies and data collection
- increased employment and quality of life in the Mediterranean region
ImPulSe addresses the integration of Mediterranean citrus production and distribution systems within a CE, while considering local values and heritage. For this, we will prototype, test and demonstrate innovative citrus supply chain solutions in the pilot countries Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia and Turkey. The approach will be based on extensive experiences with the application of current state-of-the-art technologies driving CE in Germany and France. The objectives will be achieved by developing an Information and Knowledge Hub (IKH), which will be an integrated virtual knowledge exchange and information sharing hub among all stakeholders during the project period and beyond. The IKH will simultaneously act as an innovation platform for the industry and as a participation medium for a wider spectrum of companies. Based on this, innovative supply chain concepts and digital solutions will be developed and translated into potential socio-economic and environmental scenarios. Subsequently, an integrated Analytics and Decision Support System (ADSS), which will support the sustainability assessment and ultimately make the scenarios assessable, will be developed.
The impact of ImPUlSe is projected to manifest in a digital business transformation within CE principles, an increased agricultural output, higher environmental protection, and risk mitigation along food supply chains. Innovation adoption as well as efficient and effective supply chain management not only provides benefits for stakeholders along the value chain, but also brings many benefits to the consumers, such as increased food safety and trust.
The targeted results by the end of the project include
- a framework for increasing the adoption rate of innovations
- a selection of quantitative tools and models for designing an innovative and sustainable citrus (by-product) supply chain
- a simulation-based scenario assessment system to facilitate the decision-making process for farmers, food processors, food retailers (SMEs) and policy makers