Challenges for Agri-Food Supply Networks: New Forms of Collaborations in the context of COVID-19

With the cancellation of the 30th IFAMA-WICaNeM 2020 June conference due to the measures implemented worldwide to contain COVID-19 (previously known as “2019 novel coronavirus”), also the need occurred (for a smaller-scale ), a theme-focused conference on the impact of Covid-19 on

Agri-food business plays a crucial role and central to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Covid-19 has displayed many of the vulnerabilities and externalities facing agri-food, and it is more evident than before that agri-food supply networks require critical rethinking. New practices and technologies need to be developed and existing ones – adapted, drawing on insights from sectors and industries, some of which not previously engaged in agri-food. The impact of COVID-19 is tremendous, and amongst others, underpins new collaboration patterns in agri-food. As the novel coronavirus and the measures put in place to contain it are striking, the future of agri-food is narrowed down to mitigating the challenges posed by the pandemic, as existing and emerging collaboration patterns are tested to their limits.

For the November IFAMA-WICaNeM conference, the organizers invite participants to discuss and share their vision on how COVID-19 is impacting agri-food supply networks, now and in the future.

Submissions to the conference are encouraged to fall within, but are not limited to the following questions:

·        What is the impact of a pandemic such as the one caused by the COVID-19, and containment measures, on existing agri-food supply chains?

·        How will COVID-19 and subsequent measures impact international trade in specific foods, seeds, and flowers; will existing and new trade and non-trade (e.g. phytosanitary) barriers be imposed?

·        How COVID-19-proof and resilient are agri-food networks? Are new knowledge and new collaborations needed in reforming agri-food to deliver sustainable and resilient development?

·        What strategies of agribusinesses, regulators and governments are emerging and will emerge in the post- COVID-19 era and how successful those could be?

·        How the novel coronavirus, and containment measures set by the governments impact multifunctional agriculture?  

·        How does COVID-19 affect the performance of agri-food supply chains and their contribution to attaining sustainable development goals?

·        What are the outlook for agri-food supply networks during and post-pandemic? How is the interplay between stakeholders within and between agri-food supply networks changing?

Paper submissions

We invite you to submit an abstract of 750 words by 30 September 2020 through the online submission system of the conference:

The abstract should include:

-         Title, name and affiliation of authors

-         the overall purpose of the study and the research problem(s)

-         the basic design of the study

-         significant findings or trends found as a result of the analysis

-         a summary of your interpretations and conclusions, and

-         list of key references (if applicable)

-         up to six keywords

We invite a range of formats to stimulate debate during the conference. There will be regular sessions in which academic papers are presented. Next to this, it is also possible to submit a proposal for an ‘open session’ including academic, business or other stakeholders from different corners of agri-food networks (combinations are preferred). There will also be an opportunity for poster presentations.

Review procedure: A programme committee oversees a process of quality-vetting of all submissions. Participants can only present one (1) paper at the conference

Important dates

Opening of Abstract Submissions: 31 July 2020

Closing of Abstract Submissions: 30 September 2020

Announcement of selected papers and sessions: 15 October 2020

Registration open: 1 September 2020

Conference dates: 25 &26 November 2020

Location: De Doelen, Schouwburgplein 50, 3012 CL Rotterdam

Practical information:


The workshop is organized by Wageningen University (WICaNeM) and LDE Centre for Sustainability (Leiden-Delft-Erasmus universities).

In collaboration with the other partners involved in IFAMA2020-Rotterdam: IFAMA (International Food and Agribusiness Management Association), Municipality of Rotterdam, and the InHolland University of Applied Sciences.