Covid-19 and Innovation in Agrifood Systems of Latin America and the Caribbean
The agrifood supply chain of Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) stands out for its resilience to the COVID-19 pandemic, and multiple studies have been conducted to analyze the differential impacts of the pandemic across firms and sectors. Less is known regarding the strategies implemented for business continuity during this catastrophic shock. The purpose of this study was to analyze the responses toward innovations of the LAC agrifood supply chain to the COVID-19 health emergency using data gathered from agribusinesses from 22 LAC countries. The study contributes to the literature by taking a comprehensive look at the responses of businesses along the LAC agrifood chains, and it is also one of the first longer-term quantitative assessments as it considers responses from the first and second years of the pandemic. The results from our two surveys show that over 70% of agribusinesses implemented innovations, revealing firms positive and prompt reactions. Although most innovations were longer-term, in many cases, innovations were only temporary. Statistical analyses suggest that the likelihood of implementing longer-term innovations is associated with the agrifood segment, the agrifood chain stage, receiving long-term public or private support, having access to credit, and positive future perspectives about business conditions.