Food supply chain resilience and the COVID‐19 pandemic: What have we learned?

Beyond Bushfires Final Report

Today the findings of ‘Beyond Bushfires’ were released; a six-year study of more than 1000 people impacted by Victoria’s Black Saturday bushfires, which claimed 173 lives and damaged or destroyed 3500 buildings (2133 homes), in 2009.

In addition to the evidence of recovery and resilience across the 10 years following the bushfires, there was also clear evidence
that exposure to the bushfires increased the risk of experiencing a mental illness.

10 YEARS BEYOND BUSHFIRES REPORT

The University of Melbourne, including members of CDMPS, led the study with 11 partners including government, primary health care networks and the Australian Red Cross.

The report focussed on the mental health effects of the bushfires on Black Saturday survivors and explored the influence of family, social and community relationships on individuals’ recovery. It confirmed impressive community spirit and uncovered clear evidence that human connection was at the heart of recovery and resilience.

However, many people still suffered significant mental health problems up to 5 years after the disaster. Rates of poor mental health were up to twice the levels you see in populations unaffected by a disaster…

Island economies vulnerable to natural disasters

Food supply chain resilience and the COVID‐19 pandemic: What have we learned?

A year into the COVID‐19 pandemic, this paper reflects on the changes that occurred in agrifood supply chains in Canada and the United States.

One of the persistent refrains in popular discourse emerging from the pandemic has been that food supply chains were vulnerable, were not resilient, or that they somehow failed, with the publicized cases of food waste often held up as “evidence” to that effect.

The sudden shift in food consumption patterns from food service to food retail required realignment of food supply chains. For the most part, food supply chains have performed remarkably well during the pandemic. Cross‐border food supply chains have continued to function effectively. The most significant disruptions emerged from workforce outbreaks of COVID‐19 in the meat processing sector and in fruit and vegetable production.

The paper discusses supply chain resilience and argues that agrifood supply chains are characterized by several important differences that need to be taken into consideration when evaluating resilience. Economies of scale and scope offer economic efficiency advantages in normal times, while investments in adaptability and flexibility can enhance resilience for abnormal times. Potential long‐run changes within supply chains include increased automation and digitalization in food supply chains, while investments in infrastructure for online delivery services have permanently altered the food retailing landscape…

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