OVER 10,000 KM


Oil refinery


In 2018, The Silk Roads Food Initiative (SRFI) will cover 8 Eurasian countries over three months. 

Central to the SRFI inquiry is the premise of Tarun Khanna and Krishna G. Palepu’s research on emerging markets and institutional voids: emerging economies, while individually distinct, collectively have underlying market structures that share common, important, and persistent differences from those in developed economies (Khanna & Palepu 2010). They argue that it is valuable to develop a granular understanding of the underlying market structure of emerging economies to “tailor strategies and execution in emerging markets, to avoid mistakes and outcompete rivals” (Khanna & Palepu 2010). 

The SRFI submits that a better understanding of the underlying food system structure of emerging economies could enable a more responsible and effective approach to agricultural development.


Undertake a study of the dynamics of food systems in emerging markets. The inquiry will attempt to identify patterns from the lived experiences and viewpoints of those who are stakeholders in their regional agrifood systems.

The SRFI will share its findings in a report, published in early 2019.


The inquiry is ethnographic in nature and consists of semi-structured interviews with individuals throughout the visited countries, amongst four groups: farmers, government, academics, and corporate.

The interviews will focus on individuals’ perceptions of the opportunities, challenges, and solutions in their agrifood systems. The collected data will then be compared using the following framework:

  • For each group:  Compare results  =  Identify patterns  =  Common themes
  • Between each group:  Compare respective common themes  =  Identify patterns  =  Overall themes

The SRFI is committed to conducting an ethical inquiry that respects consent and does not put vulnerable individuals at risk.

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