supply chains Archives — LIRNEasia

For those of us who have been thinking about e commerce and the reasons for people not taking to it in large numbers for decades, the COVID-19 related lockdowns gave much to reflect on. Below is an excerpt from something I wrote in the first weeks of the Sri Lankan lockdown in the Daily FT and also in Sinhala. E commerce vendors in Sri Lanka were having a hard time making sales. And these were companies that were dealing with items that do not go bad. The demand that spiked in the past weeks was mostly for goods such as dairy, fruit and vegetables that require care in storage and transportation.
LIRNEasia has been studying food supply chains almost from inception. Our then Consultant Lead Economist Harsha de Silva had been trying to fix problems in the Dambulla DEC, the country’s largest agri wholesale market from even before that. So we were understandably unhappy when the government shut down the wholesale markets in the context of the COVID-19 response. First thoughts were in this op ed. Given the difficulties many potential users have had in understanding the difficulties of scaling up the customer facing side of e commerce it should come as no surprise that there is even greater ignorance about the far end of the supply chains.
An op-ed by Harsha de Silva, PhD, in Daily Star, Bangladesh focuses on the Smallholder Quality Penalty (SQP) in the jute supply chains. The SQP is the financial penalty on the market price imposed on the smallholder by the first-handler (generally a collector) due to uncertainty over produce quality. This allows the first-handler to offset potential losses due to the perception of lower quality when selling to the next handler downstream. The SQP exists in most transactions in the supply chain. LIRNEasia research on the jute supply chain conducted in 2011 revealed that the SQP is imposed upon smallholders in the Bangladeshi jute industry.
LIRNEasia‘s  agricultural supply chain work from our current 2010-2012 research cycle was shared with the media at a dissemination event in Bangkok, Thailand. The event was intended to highlight some of the findings from the meta-study of ICT interventions in Thailand conducted for LIRNEasia by Deunden Nikomborirak. Presentations by the speakers are included below. Rohan Samarajiva, PhD., Chair & CEO, LIRNEasia Innovation for inclusive & efficient agricultural supply chains Nipon Poapongsakorn, PhD, President, Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI) Supply Chain Management in Thailand Deunden Nikomborirak, PhD, TDRI Towards a Knowledge-based Economy: Case studies of the use of ICTs in enhancing agricultural value chains in Thailand Nilusha Kapugama, LIRNEasia Lessons from the supply chain studies in Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka Sriganesh Lokanathan, LIRNEasia Overcoming the Smallholder Quality Penalty
We had the pleasure of participating in the 3rd Joint National Conference on Information Technology in Agriculture at the University of Ruhuna, Mapalana Campus, on the 29th of December 2011. Papers were presented by scholars in ICT (primarily from U of Moratuwa) addressing agriculture problems and by scholars in agriculture (primarily from U of Ruhuna) that had ICT either as the instrument (e.g., sensing technologies) or as object of study (e.g.