In-house Seminar on ‘Risk and Resilience of Agri-food Supply Chain’ by Thilini Bandara

9 November 2021

The ‘Risk and Resilience of Agri-food Supply Chain: The Case of Small Firms in Agri-food Sector of Sri Lanka’ was the subject of IPS’ in-house seminar this month presented by Research Assistant, Thilini Bandara, which is also a part of her master’s research. In her presentation, Thilini highlighted three key findings namely; risk factors in the Agri-food Supply Chain (AFSC), resilience strategies, and strategic outcomes.

Thilini explained that the most prominent risks that emerged among small firms were endogenous risks (risks originating from within the supply chain), mainly in the form of financial risks that included credit defaults, payment delays, and liquidity problems. While exogenous risks (risks originating from outside the supply chain) were not as prominent as endogenous, policy and institution level risks such as sudden changes in policies, import restrictions, and poor governance also disrupted the supply chain.

To manage the risks associated with the sector, small firms opt for two resilience strategies, which are proactive strategies and reactive strategies. Of these, proactive strategies were the most prominent as they enabled preparation for ex-ante disruption and resisted negative impacts or changes. Training and development were seen to be the most adopted proactive strategy, while contingency planning was the common reactive strategy among small firms. The outcomes of such strategies made for better financial performance, operation performance, innovation performance, and customer service performance.

Thilini concluded that future mitigation of risks in the AFSC requires managers/owners to be aware of the risks, resilience strategies, and outcomes of the various strategies. Furthermore, there should be strong coordination between the government, industries, and even universities to avoid such risks and for resilience strategies to work.