In the DFG project "Apples and Flowers. Impact of pandemics on the (re)organisation of commodity chains for fresh produce" we are investigating the impact of the external shock of the Covid-19 pandemic on the (re)organisation of commodity chains for two fresh agricultural products (apples and flowers). We will conduct a step-by-step analysis in three work packages and ask:
In applying value chain mapping, the commodity chain can be reconstructed step by step. However, for this to be possible, one needs to further focus both the product type and the type commodity chain to be analyzed. In our project, starting from consumers and retailers, we will systematically compare how commodity chains for two products – namely apples and flowers – are being re-organized in the context of the Covid-19 crisis. The reason why we chose apples and flowers is that for both, demand is more or less constant in all seasons and they are cultivated both in the Global North and in the Global South – which opens the possibility for changes in the spatial organization of the chain. In the past, both products were mainly produced close to the consumers’ locations, but during the last decades, more and more producers from the Global South – using their comparative advantages in production – have been entering the market and are delivering their products to countries in the Global North. This allows us to analyze one short and one long commodity chain for each product, resulting in four contrasting case studies: (1) the Kenyan-German Flower Chain, (2) the Dutch-German Flower Chain, (3) the Chilean-German Apple Chain and (4) the German-German Apple Chain.
By systematically comparing the changes in these four chains and analyzing their mutual entanglements, we will predict the short-term and long-term effects of the crisis. We will achieve this by combining the approach of value chain mapping with the methodological approach for process-oriented macro-micro-analysis developed by Baur. For both approaches, a mixed method approach is necessary that not only combines various qualitative with quantitative methods but also primary data (interviews, ethnography) with documentary data.
2021 – 2024
16./17.06.2022, Conference "Production, Retailing and Consumption of Food Commodity Chains before and after Covid-19 ", Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany