The LAB4SUPPLY project proposes to design and develop a multidimensional framework applied on five key selected products’ (Figs, Tomato, Carob, Goat, and Chestnut) ) in (Spain, Algeria, France and Morocco) that integrates economic, social, and environmental indicators, with a bottom-up approach considering the stakeholders´ perspectives. The project proposes a participatory approach based on creating an Agri-food Innovation Ecosystem (AIE) Living-Lab (LL) that will be the arena to collect information from the food sector and consumers and transfer and apply the new optimized business models. This approach will be unfolded by the joint creation of two levels of interaction: a face-to-face one through the creation of an Agri-food Stakeholders Platform (ASP) and a “digital” one through a Decision Support System (DSS) ICT tool to amplify the “scope” of the project. The AIE LL is based on the quadruple helix innovation system approach incorporating local clusters of farmers, small manufacturers, and distributors, public institutions, academia, research centres, and consumers. The ASP will hold multiple group activities types (workshops, training activities, and networking) allowing a full definition of an innovative agri-food supply chain alternative. Moreover, the DSS ICT tool consumer/farmer-centred will be developed with the aggregated indicators and inputs generated in the different activities, providing small-holder with key and intuitive information on new markets and opportunities, contributing to better decision making. An Open Innovation Approach based on an Agri-Food Living Lab is presented as an appropriate vehicle to support and reach LAB4SUPPLY objectives, constituted by a community of practitioners tightly connected by a web portal functioning as a virtual meeting place and a DSS ICT tool, but also by face-to-face interactions. In the proposed living labs, the stakeholders will cooperate in an open space to analyze the barriers and opportunities and to jointly develop innovative ideas.

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Period of Implementation

Jul 1, 2021 - Jun 30, 2024
Total Budget

EUR 984,020.00



1. To fully characterize and map the five key selected products’ ((Figs, Tomato, Carob, Goat, and Chestnut) current food chains, on the four participant countries (Spain, Algeria, France and Morocco), including a wide range of information, which serves for the diagnosis and mapping the supply chain, as a basis for the development of the project Work Packages. 2. To analyse and identify sustainability indicators for the different selected supply chains. 3. To design, develop and organize an Agri-food multi-stakeholders Platform (ASP) that performs two complementary and interlinked functions. The ASP will be set up at a regional scale for four case studies (Spain, Algeria, France and Morocco) targeting the four selected countries’ specific products and supply chains. It will also be established at a Mediterranean scale using a common agricultural product across countries. 4. To provide socio-economic underpinnings of the project, specifically addressing characterization of the nested interdependencies across the supply chain actors. 5. to gain a deeper understanding and contextualisation of the interdependencies between socio-economic aspects of the chain issues with the aid of the case studies and the Multi-Actor Agri-food Stakeholder Platform. 6. To turn knowledge collected during the project, into an ICT tool acting as a Decision Support System (DSS) for smallholders to identify the sustainable alternative food supply chain for their products. 7. To define commercial interest in the DSS ICT tool and develop more relations with stakeholders to create new cross-sector interconnections and value chains alternatives.


LAB4SUPPLY´s main objective is to empower agri-food smallholders in the Mediterranean agricultural systems by defining, enhancing, and transferring competitive and efficient food supply chain alternatives that address farmer’s capacities, consumer needs, and unexpected food market changes. To reach the main objectives, several secondary objectives were set as intermediate steps: 1) to develop a multidimensional framework for an aggregated analysis on the supply chain; 2) to create an Agri-food Innovation ecosystem living-lab with a multi-agent approach and test the framework on 5 agri-food supply chain cases of study, and 3) to develop a Decision Support System ICT Tool for smallholders.

Problems and Needs Analysis

LAB4SUPPLY aims to provide a practical solution that addresses the current difficulties of Mediterranean smallholders and traditional farmers, who face the main challenges that arise in the current Agri-food value chain. An analysis is needed in gaining a full understanding of the Agri-food supply chains studied, including all the variables and agents, making it accessible to smallholders by providing them with alternatives that optimize their decisions. It is expected that by having all the information available, smallholders and other involved stakeholders will be able to make informed decisions improving their overall competitiveness. Furthermore, an analysis is required to establish a bridge between local small-scale Agri-food manufacturers, including farmers, and alternative food added-value ecosystems. The Agri-food Innovation Ecosystem living-lab based on a participatory approach supported by a DSS ICT tool will represent a training backstage of an innovative multi-agent network (the Agri-food Stakeholders Platform). The Agri-food innovative experimental lab ecosystem methodology based on formation, information and synergies by multi-actor participants, will assess problem in three main levels: 1. At the production level by identifying new alternative added value solutions involving eco-friendly production systems and circular economy concepts provided by the stakeholders involved in this proposal (e.g., by-product valorisation, efficient use of nutrients at farm level, food loss and waste reduction & prevention. etc.). 2. At the agri-food marketing level by testing and simulating with stakeholders, specifically small-scale farmers different marketing channels, pricing, promotion and distribution strategies through the created DSS ICT tool. The legal framework and market requirements are also analysed at this level. 3. At the financial and economic level by supporting new farmers and entrepreneurs to assess financial requirements and providing small farmers with a Cost-Benefit benchmark with the average market prices.

Intervention Strategy(ies)

Problems will be accomplished through: 1. The design of a supply chain aggregated analysis multidimensional framework by the generation of an innovative living-lab ecosystem (the Agri-food Stakeholders Platform) with formative and networking group meeting activities and a DSS ICT tool, involving different small-scale stakeholders of the traditional added-value food chain. 2. The creation of a DSS ICT tool on the basis of all the information generated and gathered in a channels model simulatorfor for each of the selected chains during the Living Lab discussions, meetings and activities, The Agri-food Innovation Ecosystem living-lab of the project will be the arena to test and validate the tool that will be available for - key selected products - smallholders once the project finishes. Through the DSS ICT tool designed, smallholders and/or entrepreneurs may explore several commercialization alternatives and verify the diversification of the production costs and sales risk (i.e. wholesalers, retailers, direct sales, e-commerce, HORECA, etc.) and maximize their potential benefits. Therefore, the tool aims at simulating alternative added-value channels and scenarios for smallholders, offering transparent information to all food supply chain stakeholders. 3. An Agri-food Stakeholders Platform (ASP) will be developed to provide smallholders with useful information and connexions to access new markets, training, business networking, eco-friendly production systems, and a revalorization of by-products using the circular economy concept. the ASP will provide a coordination function within the selected current supply chains to ensure fair profit to smallholders and sustainable farming.

Impact Pathway

The WP1 (Diagnosis and mapping of current food supply chains), whose objective is “to assess drivers, barriers, governance framework and understand smallholders’ capacity of adaptation”, is tightly related to the WP2 (Sustainable impact assessment), whose objective is “to analyze for the selected supply chains, from farm to fork, the sustainability indicator”. The outcomes obtained from: a) the deep literature review (L1) on current Agri-food Stakeholders Platform (ASP), b) the deep interviews with main stakeholders (I1) and c) the semi-structured survey (S1) with stakeholders developed in WP1 are related to the activities in WP2: a) the deep Literature review (L2) for the identification of the economic, social, environmental and governance indicators (IND1) and b) their aggregation into a sustainability index through a Delphi panel evaluation (D1). Results from WP1 (L1, I1, S1) and from WP2 (IND1, L2) will feed the WP3 (Agrifood innovation ecosystem living-lab) whose objective is “to collect the relevant information and transform it into new applicable optimized model” following the Quadruple helix innovation system approach. The three participatory World Café Focus Groups developed in the WP3 (FG0, FG1, FG2) jointly with the training capsules and information collected in WP1 and WP2 will fed the Living labs participatory value chain modelling in WP4 (The Human Factor: Understanding and Influencing Consumers’ Preferences & Acceptance) whose objective is “to address characterization of the nested interdependencies across the supply chain actors and to elicit consumers’ beliefs and preferences over new sustainable business models”. From the information and outcomes generated from WP1, WP2, WP3 and WP4 a Decision Support System (DSS) ICT tool aiming at simulating alternative added-value channels and scenarios for smallholders will be created and validated in WP5 (Identifying Alternatives Supply Chains) whose exploitation plan will be developed in WP6 in order to define commercial interest on the DSS ICT tool and develop more relations with stakeholders to create new cross-sector interconnections and value chains alternatives. Finally, the WP7 targeting communication and dissemination plan is tghtly connected to all other WPs of the project. Two research outcome will be generated from LAB4SUPPLY. The first one is “the Aggregated supply chain methodology definition to assess economic, social and environmental impact” that will be generated from WP1 and WP2. The second one is the “DSS ICT tool for smallholders simulating alternative added-value channels and offer transparent and real market information” that will be generated from WP5 with an exploitation plan in WP6. Furthermore, a development outcome will be generated by the creation and dynamization of an Agri-Food Stakeholder Platform (ASP).

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