Tommy Harwood considers new framework for agricultural supply chain risk management

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Farming expert Tommy Harwood considers a new decision-making framework for supply chain risk management in agriculture.


Designed to support supply chain risk management within a circular economy, a new decision-making framework has recently been proposed by experts in agriculture. An entrepreneur and farming expert from Humboldt County, California, Tommy Harwood considers this multi-criteria decision-making framework, tailored toward those working in a circular economy context. 


“Using management science-based tools, a new multi-criteria-based methodology has been proposed to address so-called circular economies in agriculture around the world,” explains Harwood. This methodology, he says, primarily assesses the risk of flooding in existing crop areas.


“A principal objective of several governments seeking sustainable development, circular economy strategies deal with the production of commodities in agriculture,” Harwood continues. The result, according to the farming expert, is, it’s hoped, vastly reduced carbon emissions, and the avoidance of unnecessary waste, among other benefits.


A new multi-criteria decision-making framework may, then, says Harwood, be wholly capable of supporting a more, or yet more, circular economy in agriculture across the board. “It’s also hoped,” he adds, “that such a framework may, in the event of flooding in existing crop areas, help to prevent collapses in food supply and production.” 


This would be achieved by identifying flood risk drivers and the subsequent effects on agriculture supply chain sustainability, chiefly in relation to circular economy strategies, according to Harwood. A so-called step-wise weight assessment ratio analysis would, he goes on to reveal, when combined with a multi-criteria decision approach, allow for this, it’s believed. 


“What would follow would be an evaluation of collected data to rank agricultural projects in terms of the mitigation of flood risks, and the impact of flooding on existing crop areas,” adds farming expert Tommy Harwood. 


The proposed new decision-making framework for supply chain risk management in agriculture is supported by a research project overseen by the European Commission Scientific Section, and uses a case example from Spain. 


Based on recent reporting, it’s already been found that such a decision-making framework and multi-criteria methodology is effective in ranking flood risk mitigation and the impact of flooding on established crop areas.


“It’s hoped, therefore, that the agricultural industry, particularly within a circular economy, can utilize this decision-making framework and multi-criteria methodology,” adds Harwood, wrapping up, “to more accurately identify flood risk drivers, and to better determine the best ways in which to mitigate the impact of flooding in areas already used to grow crops.”