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Extreme weather and resilience in the foodchain - FO0456

This is a risks and futures based project, researching the UK food chain’s level of resilience to extreme and volatile weather events. It will be a partnership project between the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), Cranfield University (CERF), members of the Food Research Partnership, the Met Office and leading figures from the UK food and farming industry.

The project will recognise the global nature of the UK food chain, including agricultural production, and look at the impact of both UK and global extreme weather and the UK food chain’s resilience to resulting shocks, both now and in the future. It will build on research conducted by the Food Research Partnership (October 2012) and contribute directly to Defra’s priorities.
The research project will aim to address the following questions:

What impact is extreme weather currently having on the UK food chain and will potentially have in the next 10-15 years, and what is needed to adapt and build resilience over the short-medium term (i.e. next 2-6 years, rather than focusing on the longer term impacts of climate change)?

What are the “pinch points” in the supply chain that are currently vulnerable to these types of events? This can be broken down into three distinct areas:

i. What are the impacts of extreme weather in the UK on UK food chains?

ii. What are the impacts of global extreme weather on the UK food chains (recognising the global nature of these supply chains)?

iii. What is required of the entire UK food chain to adapt to extreme weather: what individual actions are required by actors within the supply chain, and are there opportunities to build partnerships and improve coordination across UK and global supply chains to improve resilience to these future challenges?

Expected aims/outcomes:

1. to assess the vulnerabilities of representative food supply chains to extreme weather (consider a 10-15 year horizon and include existing control/resilience structures);
2. to identify the impacts of extreme weather events on food supply chains;
3. to explore opportunities to improve the resilience of food supply chains, including actions needed by business, industry bodies, government, other organisations and consumers; and
4. to raise awareness of the risks and necessary actions amongst business and industry.
Project Documents
• FRP - Final Report : FO0456 Final Report   (995k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2013

To: 2014

Cost: £49,717
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Cranfield University