1st Edition

Competition and Efficiency in International Food Supply Chains
Improving Food Security

ISBN 9780415520720
Published August 2, 2012 by Routledge
272 Pages 19 B/W Illustrations

USD $56.95

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

Why have food crises seemingly become more frequent in recent years, compared to the last few decades? This book examines an array of different issues and distortions that are causing food supply chain dysfunction in many countries, particularly for staple non-perishable foods such as grains, oilseeds, pulses and sugar. It outlines the underlying changes that are currently occurring, which will have an influence on the direction of future food supply chains, and provides some solutions to current food security problems. Based on an analysis of total regulation in the 1950s-60s through to deregulation during the 1980-90s, as well as post-deregulation, it focuses on liberal trade and deregulation as a more successful solution to creating efficiencies in food supply chains and distribution. The author highlights a common thread of either farmers using government for vested-interest intervention, or autocratic governments seeking market and supply-chain power. 

The book examines the role of government after 70 years of food supply chain intervention. It discusses the role of commercial ‘trade’ markets and cluster industries and how these can quickly disintegrate when price distortions occur. The author studies both food importing and exporting countries and concludes that comingled commoditization of food has led to increased hoarding, corruption, and dependence on food aid. He argues that a competitive food supply chain that has minimum intervention is more likely to provide future food security. In conclusion the book emphasizes that adequate rewards, competition, and striving for supply chain efficiencies are the essences of sustainable food security.

Table of Contents

1. Commodity Supply Shocks.  2. Supply Chain Distortions – Intervention, Subsidies, Protection.  3. Role of the Private Sector, Price, Competition and Government.  4. Government Intervention by Importing Countries.  5. The Rise and Fall of Commingled Commodity Handling.  6. Government Intervention Failures in Exporting Countries.  7. Hoarding.  8. Corruption in the Food Chain.  9. Food Aid Problems.  10. Importance of ‘Trade’ Markets and Merchants.  11. Post Deregulation Issues.  12. Food Supply Chain Efficiency.

View More



John Williams is the Executive Director of the Australian Food Security Institute and a Fellow in Agribusiness at the Centre for Study of Rural Australia, Marcus Oldham College. He has rural science-economics degrees, a master in agribusiness, and a PhD on farmer decision-making psychology from The University of Melbourne.


'This book is a major contribution to our understanding of the complexities of global food supply chains. In particular it details the impact of market distortions caused by Government intervention. It is required reading for all food policy professionals and food producers at a time of increasing interest in global food security.'Dr. Lawrie Dooley, Director, Centre for the Study of Rural Australia, Marcus Oldham College, Australia 

‘Issues affecting the international food supply chain are increasingly under discussion; from climate change and growing urbanization to expanding intellectual property rights and rising market concentrations. There is a need for a textbook with a holistic approach on competition and efficiency in the international food supply chain. Therefore I highly recommend the new book by John Williams.’ Bo Öhlmér, Professor in Economics at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden 

‘Your book is the first and only ' text' book that I have ever been guilty of reading in my life and it has been a joy.’ – Leon Bradley, Western Australian wheat grower