Scale up to the regional level & forge into cooperative partnerships
However, real business opportunities in SSCs can only be yielded if handled professionally and on a proper scale. Current SSCs run short in a vicious circle of small market volumes for local food products, marginal business cases for food related companies, low investment and innovation levels and consequently no incentives to develop to mature regional food markets. In order to move out of this deadlock, short supply chains should increase to higher volumes, which can be found by upscaling from local to regional markets.
This presents challenges on five interconnected strands:
- Data: Most regions have limited market relevant data available and if any, not always specific and ready to use by SMEs.
- Economic/business: New market opportunities and smart specialisation strategies should be translated in sound business models including chain management, joint investments and cooperation.
- Organisational/operational: In order to aggregate to proper market volumes, demand and supply should seek new forms of partnership based on common benefits and shared values.
- Political: Public authorities and corporate organisations should play an active role in support of SSCs by changing procurement policies and adopting food policies providing better market potential for SMEs in the region.
- Skills: SMEs and other stakeholders in SSCs need specific skills to identify regional opportunities and develop and implement sound cooperative business arrangements.