Editorial of Special Issue: Agri-food and biomass supply chains
This Special issue deals with two types of supply chains, the agrifood supply chain (‘farm-to-fork’) and the biomass supply chain (‘farm-to-energy’), both originating on the farm and directed towards different end-usages. Regardless of the different end-usages, both chains involve inherent high complexity due to the interactions between the consisting entities, many of which are characterized by significant dynamism. The sources of the complexity and dynamism are mainly attributed to the beginning and end of these chains. On one hand, the unpredictable environment of the demand (both in food market and energy market) is affected by social, political, and economic drivers, and on the other hand, the supply is affected by the uncertain bio-production environment (weather dependency, short workability windows, limited and disperse crop availability, etc.). On top of that, growing environmental, social, and ethical concerns put pressures on employing sustainable practices in the supply chains, as a measure to reduce the impacts of the bio-production sector. Although that advances in engineering technologies and information and communication technologies have been introduced into the supply chain processes, there is still much inefficiency in the decision making and management of the agrifood and biomass supply chains, making it difficult to fulfill the aforementioned requirements.