The goal of this course is to understand the challenges and opportunities of agribusiness nowadays. From farms to retailers, from input providers to traders, all the diverse players of this value chain interact a complex business environment in which nature, policy, technology and management strategies have to be considered to overcome future challenges and seize upcoming opportunities.
To understand such complexity we will take Italy as a large, open-air lab in which all major phenomena and business dynamics influencing agribusiness worldwide coexist and clearly show their effects. History, heritage and tradition, technology and innovation, brilliant farmers and multinational companies, all in a constrained, diverse physical and business landscape, Italy is the perfect sampling area for agribusiness.
In our learning experience we will benefit from the knowledge and experience of different Bocconi University Professors and several CEOs and top executives who are re-shaping agribusiness concepts.
Week 1: Heritage and Excellence in Italian Agriculture
Week 2: Challenges of the Global Agro-System
Week 3: Innovation in Agribusiness
Week 4: Developing new business concepts
Heritage and Excellence in Italian Agriculture
-The first week aims at illustrating the history, the evolution and the current features of the agrifood industry. Conditions, capabilities and competences that allowed Italy to become the first country worldwide in terms of quality agrifood products, with some 3000 quality products all over the world, are examined. At a later stage, the agrifood supply chain composition is analyzed, meant as all players operating around farms, and more details are given regarding the industry competitive dynamics, mainly intended as the bargaining power imbalance between a palyer and the other.
Challenges of the Global Agro-System
-The second week focuses on the challenges of the global agro-system. Population growth, income growth, transition of emergent economies toward a high-calorie diet: all these levers increase the demand for food. At the same time, climate changing emissions and the process of desertification of arable lands threaten the production of sufficient food to feed the world. Another theme investigated during the second week is the process of commoditization of agricultural products. Firstly, distinctive aspects of commodities are analyzed, then it is explained the impact of industrialization and economy of services on price transmission along the agrifood value chain and on agriculture value added reduction.
Innovation in Agribusiness
-The third week analyzes the meaning of the term “innovation”, firstly from a generic point of view, identifying the ingredients for a successful innovation process and discussing the growing importance of services in business. Subsequently, the agrifood industry main innovation trends (i.e. biotech and bigdata) are analyzed through a series of interviews addressed to players that represent those trends as SDF Group and Syngenta. Final webinars focus on sustainability. It is explained how sustainability can be carried out through best practices and how agriculture can impact on and benefit from ecosystem services.
Developing new business concepts
-In the last week, the agri-food industry is analyzed looking at new business concepts and models. Firstly, new farmers’ distinctive characteristics are examined and, through an interview, the future development of the Common Agricultural Policy are discussed. New business models are then investigated through interviews and webinars regarding sustainable ways of handling farms today, both from an economic and an environmental point of view. Concepts such as downstream integration, supply chain integration, multifunctionality and digitalization are discussed. Finally, the notion of business cooperation is deepened and benefits of cooperation from small-scale farmers point of view are listed.