Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Forecasting food supply chain developments in lagging rural regions: Evidence from the UK

Ilbery, Brian; Maye, Damian; Kneafsey, Moya; Jenkins, Tim; Walkley, Catherine


Brian Ilbery

Damian Maye

Moya Kneafsey

Tim Jenkins

Catherine Walkley


Endemic problems in EU 'lagging rural regions' (LRRs) are well documented and various support mechanisms have long been in place to help overcome structural difficulties. Nevertheless, new rural development architectures are now being sought and some scholars have posited that LRRs may benefit from the 'quality (re)turn' in food and a relative shift from long to short food supply chains. The ways in which this 'new agriculture' relates to rural development in lagging regions sound fine in theory. However, in practice it is far from clear what will actually happen, where and how. This paper attempts to answer some of these questions and, using a Delphi technique, to forecast those factors likely to influence supply chain development and performance in two LRRs in the UK: West Wales and the Scottish-English Borders. The findings suggest that while most experts willingly accept the socio-economic values that can be gained by localising, shortening and synergising the food chain in LRRs, there are also important barriers that question the emergence of such an agrarian based rural development dynamic. These include the small number and size of 'alternative' producers in both locales, with most still locked into industrial forms of production; the restrictive influence of bureaucracy; the shortfall of key intermediaries in both regions' food chains; and the poor provision of key physical infrastructures (e.g. roads, railway and telecommunications). The Delphi method also reveals how expert opinions about rural development in LRRs are contingent and contested, with contradictions emerging within, as well as between, rounds. © 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Ilbery, B., Maye, D., Kneafsey, M., Jenkins, T., & Walkley, C. (2004). Forecasting food supply chain developments in lagging rural regions: Evidence from the UK. Journal of Rural Studies, 20(3), 331-344.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jul 1, 2004
Journal Journal of Rural Studies
Print ISSN 0743-0167
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 20
Issue 3
Pages 331-344
Keywords food supply chain, lagging rural regions, UK
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : Food and Farming Maye and Ilbery took the joint lead in writing this paper, drawn from an EU-funded research project (SUPPLIERS).

Downloadable Citations