Modelling the Pig Supply Chain: a Network Analysis Applied to the Italian Case

Flavia Clemente, Piero Nasuelli, Rodolfo Baggio


Various economic theories and many approaches in the study of food chains have produced, over the years, a variety of models.
They are used as tools for analysis and forecasting, and often offer a basis for the development in software of various kinds.
In an earlier stage of our field research we developed a model mapping the dense network of links connecting the actors of the
supply chains of products of animal origin of the Italian territory. An initial version of the model has shown the basic characteristics
of the system and already provided a number of interesting insights (Clemente et al., 2015a, 2015b). The Eva.CAN model
(Evaluation of Complex Agro‐food Networks) is a complex network model representing together the chains of milk (cow, goat,
sheep and buffalo), and beef and pig meat along with all their products, fresh and matured, in which the links represent the
economic exchanges between the different actors.
In this next phase of analysis our aim is to show, in particular, a study of the structure of the Italian pig meat sector (fresh and cured
products), the dynamics of import of raw materials and export of processed products, and also those of consumption on the Italian
territory. A special attention is given to our PDO products, considered among the best in the World as for quality and quantity. The
pig production in Italy reached 1.6 million tons. The meat of more than 70% of the bred animals is destined to the production of
PDO products (In Italy the PDO products are 21 out of a total of 36 European). The industry imports nearly 1.2 million tons of meat that is intended in part to fresh consumption and in part to the transformation. In the analysis we use a higher amount of actual data pertaining to a greater number of years compared to the previous works.
We apply network analytic methods to assess the topology (structural characteristics) of the network which is known to affect the overall functionality and dynamics (Newman, 2010). For the analysis of the sector it is important to understand what is the mix of processed products destined to domestic consumption and exports that allow the company to get the best economic performance.
On this basis a series of simulations can provide different development scenarios. The evidence resulting from these allows examining possible strategic suggestions for what concerns business management and policies to be adopted in the whole sector.

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ISSN 2194-511X


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