In October, Business School Netherlands (BSN) once again held the Masterclass in Food Security for International Action Learning MBA students with this Major. Prof. Vijayender Nalla investigated with the students the current food ecosystem and the challenges it’s facing due to the changing supply and demand dynamics.
In order to provide a more comprehensive view of this Masterclass, we addressed a number of questions to Prof. Vijayender Nalla and here is what he had to say:
Q: Could you give us a general introduction on the agribusiness and food industry and why the Netherlands is in a leading position?
A: The entire food value chain comprises of Agri-input industry (seeds, fertilizers, etc.), agriculture producers & processors, food processors and food retail. With a value of $5 trillion, it employs more than 50% of the total workforce. Netherlands food logistics and supply chain management leadership with deep trading roots have made it the 2nd largest food exporter after the United states. Food & Agribusinesses operating out of Netherlands has a lot to contribute to the global food security and sustainability.
Q: How long have you worked in the field of Food & Agribusiness? What subjects are you specialised in?
A: I have been working in the Food & Agribusiness value chains for more than 10 years now with another 10 years of prior experience in general supply chain management. Competitive Food value chain design and Business model design for food chains are my favourite themes within this space.
Q: How long have you been teaching Food & Agribusiness management courses? What is the most important message you want to pass on to those who work in the industry?
A: I have been training and coaching professionals (from entry to the senior management level) within the sector for more than 10 years now. Food security and Sustainability is achievable in a profitable way if each organisation is preparing their talent to become value creators. Learning and development has to be on the strategic agenda of each food business.
Q: From a global perspective, what are the biggest challenges for humanity, regarding food security?
A: 1. All-natural resources (land, water, soil etc.) we now take for granted and super critical for food security are going to become very scarce and precious resources. Water in particular, from my point of view, is going to be the biggest threat for food security.
2. Food waste management is another critical environmental and food security challenge but at the same time a very good business opportunity if leveraged/channelized appropriately.
3. Well prepared talent with a value creation mindset is a scare resource in this sector. This is a big challenge for now but, when approached well, could become an interesting business opportunity.
Q: BSN students are coming from different continents. Have you learnt anything interesting from students and their stories on Food Security?
A: Absolutely. The BSN food security students have good minds and they come with a lot of passion to learn ways to create a change within the context in which they live and operate. Food is as much a local theme as it is a global one and there are lot of elements that one can learn by listening to and understanding their local context. Interacting and sharing my domain expertise with the BSN group is an experience I look forward to always.
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