Food supply chains in remote island communities

Schiffling, Sarah (2013) Food supply chains in remote island communities. Project Report. Aberdeen University.

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Item Type:Paper or Report (Project Report)
Item Status:Live Archive


Food transport was chosen as the focus of this research, because it is a universal problem, both for individuals and businesses in the agri-food or hospitality sector. In the UK, the agri-food sector contributed £96.1 billion or 7.3 per cent to national Gross Value Added in 2011, and 3.3 million or 14 per cent of national employment in the third quarter of 2012 (Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs 2013) This sector has a strong presence in rural areas, particularly in Scotland. In addition, the hospitality and tourism industry is important for rural Scotland. The research is exploratory in its nature. It seeks to understand the challenges of food logistics in a rural setting from the perspective of rural businesses that produce and/or sell food products. Particular attention has been paid to the impact of weather disruptions on the supply chain and the potential of cooperation between businesses to lower transport cost.
Furthermore, this research focuses on small islands. All of them fit the definition of remote rural areas as areas outwith a 30-minute driving radius of the nearest settlement with a population of 10,000 or more (The Scottish Government 2013). According to the 2001 census there are 96 inhabited islands in Scotland with a total population of just under 100,000 (Scottish Inhabited Islands 2003). Compared to previous census figures, many of the islands face depopulation and an ageing population, while others have thriving communities and a lower average age than the rest of Scotland (Scotland Census Results Online 2003). Lewis and Harris have the largest population with 19,918 inhabitants in 2001, followed by Mainland Shetland and Mainland Orkney. In total, 14 islands had more than 1,000 inhabitants, while 50 had less than 100.
Transport has been identified as one of the barriers to rural economic development in Scotland (Wilson and Edwards 2008). The economic and social life in island communities is particularly reliant on transport links. As companies owned by the Scottish Government provide the majority of Scottish ferry services, keeping these links alive is a large commitment of public spending. In 2013/14 the expense is projected to be about £116.3m (Transport Scotland 2012). A better understanding of how transport provision supports consumers and businesses in these small, remote communities can help with the allocation of funds to services that often cannot be operated commercially.
Remote communities of such a small size are relatively little researched, except for some examples of Arctic communities both in Europe and North America (Brooks and Frost 2012). Research on small islands tends to focus on ones that support much larger economies than most of the Scottish islands (Malindretos 2012). Even research on small remote economies is usually focused on entire countries (Winters and Martins 2004). As rural areas around the globe face depopulation and an ageing population, a better understanding of transport links can help improve the provision of lifeline services, which might ultimately lead to an increased attractiveness of the affected areas. On the other hand, such communities provide an environment in which the effect of weather disruptions can be studied at a comparatively small scale. This is an area of research that is

Keywords:food supply chains, remote rural areas, island studies, sea transport
Subjects:N Business and Administrative studies > N850 Transport Studies
L Social studies > L724 Transport Geography
Divisions:Lincoln International Business School
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ID Code:18459
Deposited On:25 Aug 2015 08:31

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