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The application of digital technologies in the agri-food supply chain of China: enablers identification and prioritization

Guoqing Zhao, Xiaoning Chen , Shaofeng Liu, Xiaotian Xie

9th International Conference on Decision Support System Technology, Pages: 131 - 139

Swansea University Author: Guoqing Zhao

Abstract

Agri-food supply chains (AFSCs) are facing more pressures in terms of increasing volatility, growing population, and intensifying climate change. It is expected that global agri-food production must be doubled by 2050 in order to tackle the world population explosion crisis. Digital technologies hav...

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Published in: 9th International Conference on Decision Support System Technology
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Online Access: https://icdsst2023.files.wordpress.com/2023/05/actes_imt_icdsst2023_v3.pdf
URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa63528
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Abstract: Agri-food supply chains (AFSCs) are facing more pressures in terms of increasing volatility, growing population, and intensifying climate change. It is expected that global agri-food production must be doubled by 2050 in order to tackle the world population explosion crisis. Digital technologies have the capability to produce more food with fewer resources, reduce food waste and loss, and revolutionize the agri-food industry completely, which has been widely recognized by scholars and practitioners as a potential solution. However, it is not clear about enablers to facilitate digital technologies application from a developing country’s perspective. Thus, this study aims to analyze enablers to the application of digital technologies in the AFSC of China. Three research questions were formulated to understand what digital technologies are applied in the China’s agri-food industry, what are the enablers to facilitate AFSC practitioners to use digital technologies, and how the identified enablers are prioritized. To answer these research questions, we employed a mixed-method approach, including semi-structured interviews to collect empirical data from 16 experienced AFSC practitioners, thematic analysis to identify enablers, and fuzzy analytical hierarchy process (AHP) to prioritize the identified enablers. Our study significantly contributes to new knowledge. For example, this study identifies that frequently discussed digital technologies such as blockchain technology, big data analytics, and automatic tractor are seldom used in the agri-food industry of China, other technologies such as water-fertilizer integrated technology, internet of things (IoTs), and smart greenhouses are widely deployed. Ten enablers are identified that may facilitate AFSC practitioners to apply digital technologies, including those merely mentioned by scholars, such as workforce reduction, early detection of plant diseases, accurate determination of the maturity of crops, and improving working conditions. Finally, our prioritization results show that reducing working intensity, reducing water and fertilizer consumption, and improving fertilizer use efficiency are the top three enablers. This study also contributes to managerial practices.
College: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Start Page: 131
End Page: 139