Survival strategies of producers involved in short food supply chains following the outbreak of COVID‐19 pandemic

Benedek, Zsófia ORCID:, Baráth, Lajos ORCID:, Fertő, Imre ORCID:, Merino‐Gaibor, Elvia ORCID:, Molnár, Adrienn, Orbán, Éva ORCID: and Nemes, Gusztáv (2022) Survival strategies of producers involved in short food supply chains following the outbreak of COVID‐19 pandemic. Sociologia Ruralis, 62 (1). pp. 68-90. DOI

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The outbreak of the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused unprecedented disruption to the global food distribution network (Barrett, 2020; Hobbs, 2020; Torero, 2020). Although the major impact, with the exception of those who suffered from medical issues, appeared to be economic (Béné, 2020; Laborde et al., 2020), the spread of COVID intensified existing concerns regarding the (un)sustainability of the global food system, potential threats to food security (of the poor, mostly) and to the resilience of local food system actors (Béné, 2020; Laborde et al., 2020; Swinnen, 2020; Volpato et al., 2020). Many authors consider the COVID-related situation as a real-time experiment concerning the sustainability transition (Bodenheimer & Leidenberger, 2020; Cohen, 2020), with a special focus on local food systems and short food supply chains (SFSCs). These alternative systems may fulfil a number of roles and functions and include a diversity of actors as well as marketing channels, making them reliable elements of the food system in terms of maintaining operations, compared to the relatively small number of transnational agro-food enterprises (Hendrickson, 2015; Lamine, 2015; Tendall et al., 2015). A consensus seems to be evolving about their importance during COVID (Blay-Palmer et al., 2020; Boons et al., 2020; Cummins et al., 2020; Swinnen, 2020). Individuals and local networks are hypothesised to be able to adapt more easily and rapidly to changing conditions than larger ones (Cabell & Oelofse, 2012). On the other hand, heterogeneous responses were reported by the grey literature and the media, and concerns have been formulated by many authors that many SFSC producers faced challenges accessing the market due to lockdown measures and social distancing and/or labour shortages (Holden, 2020; Torero, 2020). In fact, solid empirical evidence about the actual strategies, opportunities and responses of small-scale producers employed to take advantage of the current situation (or at least moderate its impacts) is still lacking. The aim of this article is to document early, first-wave COVID-19 impacts experienced by smallscale food producers in Hungary and to differentiate some of their early responses. In presenting empirical data, this work contributes to filling a knowledge gap about the actual reaction of small-scale farmers to the market-related disruptions caused by the pandemic, not only in terms of economic outcomes, but also in relation to strategic decision-making and behavioural-attitudinal transformations. The concept of resilience was used to build a framework. The related literature is reviewed in the following section.

Item Type:Article
Subjects:Food economy
Social welfare, insurance, health care
ID Code:7362
Deposited By: MTMT SWORD
Deposited On:05 Apr 2022 08:49
Last Modified:05 Apr 2022 08:49

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