The overall objective of the project is to carry out research and development activities with the aim of identifying innovative strategies and business models to increase the resilience of small-scale farms in the Mediterranean area, to adequately face disruptive events. The five specific objectives (SOs) of the proposal are explained below:
SO-1 – Increasing saleability and perceived value of smallholder products, to be resilient and address any supply chain disruption in the event of a crisis
The project partners aim to achieve this goal through the design, development and implementation of a multi-sided platform, called SMALLDERS, capable of simultaneously hosting multiple types of actors: smallholder, citizen, critical stakeholder (i.e., large -scale retail trade operator, large-scale food producer), freight transport company, policymaker. This objective is relevant for the topic of the call because the platform enables an e-commerce channel that allows smallholders to sell directly to citizens and critical stakeholders, thus effectively coping with any unexpected closure of traditional distribution channels. Additionally, the implementation of an ad hoc Artificial Intelligence based Knowledge Navigator improves the shopping experiences done by citizens accessing the SMALLDERS platform.
SO-2 - Increasing smallholder products traceability, quality, safety and perceived value
The implementation of an ad hoc blockchain as part of the SMALLDERS platform improves the traceability, quality and safety of products, therefore also the price that buyers are willing to pay (perceived value). An ad-hoc blockchain will trace for example the origin of the ingredients/raw materials used to produce a certain food product in order to validate its overall composition, or it could be used for monitoring the water consumption during the agricultural product cultivation. These aspects are crucial, especially during a pandemic period.
SO-3 - Helping smallholders to cope with the shortage of workforce due to the COVID-like crisis
The third specific objective is to help smallholders to cope with the shortage of workforce, due to the COVID-like crisis and to increase the farm production efficiency. The goal of better managing the workforce is realistic as it is based on the use of the SMALLDERS multi-sided platform. Every smallholder can share job offers and/or requests with other smallholders or citizens, who are looking for job opportunities.
SO-4 - Helping smallholders to increase the farm production efficiency
The fourth specific objective is the increase of the farm production efficiency. The SMALLDERS platform will cope the correct planning of the farm activities in order to make the smallholders aware of the production status in order to point out any inefficiency or delay in agriculture production. The platform will manage in particular the water usage during the agricultural phases, in order to create a time series of the water consumption and show, during some agricultural phases, possible deviation from the average consumption.
SO-5 - Increasing the Multi-Capital Sustainability of Smallholders processes
The last specific objective focuses on the increase of the Smallholders sustainability by adopting a multi-capital approach. Multi-capital sustainability indicators will be defined and evaluated under multiple scenarios through the use of simulation models, in order to ensure the measurability of this objective under different what-if scenarios. Considering the importance of the environment (natural capital) for the agri-food sector, seven environmental indicators will be also reported in order to understand the improvement achieved by the SMALLDERS platform use.
The achievement of all objectives will be measured through real-world case studies.
Monsieur Francesco Longo (University of Calabria (Modeling & Simulation Center - Laboratory of Enterprise Solutions))
The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.
UEX University of Extremadura
IMT Mines Alès Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Mines d'Alès
UNIPR University of Parma (Future Technology Lab)
LAPER Laboratory of energy applications and renewable energy efficiency
UNICAL University of Calabria (Modeling & Simulation Center - Laboratory of Enterprise Solutions)
Help of the ANR 1,063,750 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: - 36 Months