Special Issue "Dynamics of Food Value Chains: Resilience, Fairness and Sustainability"

A special issue of Agriculture (ISSN 2077-0472). This special issue belongs to the section "Agricultural Economics, Policies and Rural Management".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 July 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. David Barling
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Centre for Agriculture, Food and Environmental Management Research, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, UK
Interests: food policy; food governance; food systems; sustainable food security
Prof. Antonella Samoggia
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences, University of Bologna, 40127 Bologna, Italy
Interests: agro-food chain; agro-food governance; food products; consumer behaviour
Dr. Guðrún Ólafsdóttir
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Applied Supply Chain Systems (ASCS) research group. University of Iceland, School of Engineering and Natural Sciences Faculty of Industrial Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Computer Sciences. Reykjavík, Iceland
Interests: food value chains; sustainability assessment; environmental impacts; traceability; quality

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

For farmer-growers, the road to market can be complex as their produce moves through the food value chain to the final consumer. The workings and management of food value chains, in turn, shape what is grown and where, in agriculture, horticulture, and aquaculture. The resilience of food chains to environmental, economic, societal, geo-political, pandemic, and climate-related weather shocks are key determinants of the food and nutrition security of the food supply for modern societies. The relationship between the major actors in supply chains determines the share of the value of the final product that the farmer-grower and the other actors receive. Fairness, as an outcome in the distribution of value, and as a set of processes in how the distribution is determined, has attracted the attention of policy-makers. For example, the European Union has introduced legislative measures to prohibit unfair trading practices between businesses in food value chains and greater transparency of price distribution, through market monitoring and reporting systems. The Fair Trade movement originated with the need to provide farmer-growers and their rural communities with adequate rewards for their production in cross-continental supply chains. Many food value chains are dependent on low-paid, often precarious, and immigrant labor, from harvests to packing, through to food service and retail, raising questions about social sustainability. Material and information flows through food chains, and their energy and environmental life cycle impacts, serve to generate external environmental costs along the chain, as well as associated health benefits and costs, and waste. Scientific studies are sought for publication in this Special Issue of Agriculture that provide theoretical approaches and tools for analysis, including methodologies for measurement and modeling, to improve the understanding of the dynamics of food value chains, to enhance their resilience, fairness, and sustainability.

Prof. David Barling
Prof. Antonella Samoggia
Dr. Guðrún Ólafsdóttir
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Agriculture is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Material and information flows along food value chains
  • Food value chain resilience
  • Healthy, fair, and sustainable food value chains
  • Fairness and food value chain management
  • Public policy interventions and fairer food value chains
  • Food value chain relationships
  • Governance of food value chains
  • Food value chains and food and nutrition security
  • Sustainability indicators and assessment of food value chains and systems
  • Social sustainability and food value chains
  • Impacts of food value chains on rural economy and communities
  • Food value chains and management of logistics, food quality, and integrity
  • Dynamic supply and value chain models
  • Agent-based modeling of food supply and value chains
  • Simulation modeling of food supply and value chains
  • Methodological approaches to fair price analysis along the food value chain
  • Economic analyses of market integration
  • Price formation and transmission along food value chains
  • Trade persistency in food value chains
  • Market power in food value chains

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Operationalization of Interorganizational Fairness in Food Systems: From a Social Construct to Quantitative Indicators
Agriculture 2021, 11(1), 36; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11010036 - 08 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 824
Fairness issues within food systems are of increasing concern for policy makers and other stakeholders. Given the topicality and policy relevance of fairness within food systems, there is value in exploring the subject further. Simulation modelling has been successfully used to develop and [...] Read more.
Fairness issues within food systems are of increasing concern for policy makers and other stakeholders. Given the topicality and policy relevance of fairness within food systems, there is value in exploring the subject further. Simulation modelling has been successfully used to develop and test policy interventions. However, the subjectivity and intangibleness of fairness perceptions make them difficult to operationalize in a quantitative model. The objective of this study is to facilitate research on fairness in food systems using simulation modelling by defining the social construct of fairness in model operational terms. The operationalization is conducted in two steps. First, the construct of fairness is conceptually defined in terms of its dimensions, antecedents, and consequences using the literature on interorganizational fairness. Then, by focusing specifically on fairness issues within food systems, the conceptual definition is used as a basis for the identification of proxy indicators of fairness. Seven groups of factors related to fairness perceptions were identified during the conceptualization phase: financial outcomes, operational outcomes, power, environmental stability, information sharing, relationship quality, and controls. From these factor groups, five indicators of fairness that are operational in a quantitative model were identified: profit margin as an indicator of distributive fairness and four indicators of procedural fairness related to market power and bargaining power. Full article
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

1. Dynamics of Food Value Chains: Resilience, Fairness and Sustainability – Introduction and Overview

2. Hybrid Simulation to Analyse the Resilience of Food Supply Chains

3. A Conceptual Model for a Food System Simulation Model: The Case of the Norwegian Value Chain for Farmed Salmon

4. The UK industrial food sector and the governance of social sustainability

5. Governance of the British Beef and Sheep food value chains

6. Conceptual simulation system dynamics/agent based modelling in food value chains, the case of wheat value chain in France

7. Conceptual simulation system dynamics/agent based modelling in food value chains, the case of tomato value chain in Emilia Romagna/Italy

8. Assessment of fairness and market power in food value chains through simulation modelling

9. Market imperfections in the European dairy industry: the case of Germany and the UK

10. Drivers of productivity change in Italian tomato food value chain

11. Persistency of dairy export of EU dairy products, the case of milk and cheese in Germany, France and the UK

12. Global wheat market - What is the role of the Black Sea Region?

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