Driving change to create sustainable agro value chains

Do farmers raise their share in traditional value chains or do they create new ones in alternative markets like fair trade and sustainable products? Do they prefer the export markets with multinational companies or their national markets? Swiss researchers from the Life Sciences and Facility Management (LSFM) ZHAW, had many such pivotal questions about the sustainable agriculture and food supply chains in India.

The LSFM works at the forefront of science and conducts researches across the globe in the areas of nutrition, health, society and environment. In 2016, Dr. Stefan Flückiger, a faculty member, wanted to delve deeper into the Indian market and uncover the opportunities for cooperation between the researchers and market players in India and Switzerland. Indeed, it was a challenge to zero in on the right partner for LSFM, considering the size of the Indian market. Knowing the complexities of this multilateral industry, swissnex India brought together companies, cooperatives and fair trade groups in the states of Karnataka and Kerala that LSFM could partner with, for knowledge exchange and for collaborations in creating sustainable agri-food value chains.

Thanks to swissnex’s trend-scouting, Dr. Flückiger could collaborate on a research project with the Indian Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC) and University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore (GKVK), which was green-lighted with the Indo-Swiss research funding for social sciences, in 2017. As part of this ongoing collaboration, the Indian research team visited Switzerland in 2017 and the Swiss team is expected to visit India in 2019. Their research project, “Evaluation of global food value chains concerning sustainability: Development of a methodology and case studies of Indian products with Swiss target market” is expected to have great outcomes that will contribute towards shaping the future of these two national markets.