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Unorthodox case question - food problem

Anonymous A

Hey everyone, came across this interesting case: "you have been hired by the government of a developing nation to help with solving their problem of food shortage". How would you go about structuring this case and what are the potential end solutions you can think of to solve this problem? All thoughts welcome!

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replied on 03/28/2018
Current partner @ Andreessen Horowitz (VC firm). Ex-Mckinsey, ex- strategy guy at Google.

There are three drivers here:

1. Food creation: this is the supply side. All things being the same, the supply is falling short.

2. Food consumption: All things being the same, somehow we are consuming more so there is a shortfall.

3. Food migration: If no change in supply or demand, then there is an export/import imbalance somewhere.

For #1: reasons are (a) change in weather or seasonality (2) crop quality / diseases (3) transportation issues - delays or waste etc (4) less farmers in general

To fix is a combo of (a) cold storage tech (2) better distribution of pesticides, other quality assurance tech, better seeds, etc (3) better supply chain (4) subsidies / tax benefits for farming, better loans etc.

For #2: reasons are (a) population growth (b) per capita growth in eating vol? / obesity? (c) food wastage

To fix, some solns are (a) policies around pop control / education (b) healthy diet recos / education (c) better policies on recycling as well as penalties for wastage, reduce service sizes, bla bla

For #3: reasons are (a) increased demand for certain crops abroad (b) price arbitrage - more profitable to export than keep domestic, etc..

To fix, you could (a) incent farmers to produce more of the high-demand crops (b) import/export tax incentives, etc.

Hope this helps.

Ojasvi replied on 03/28/2018


Here's my approach. (I'm no expert but preparing for interviews myself , hence would love to get feedbacks from experts)

1. Supply :

a. current food sources : own farming/ imports / other ; split?

b. Distribution capabilities : How do we distribute our supplies to the end user , - our own channels/ third parties ?

c. Prices

2. Demand :

a. Customer Segments : Financial levels ?

b. Needs and Pref of each sengments ?

c. Price each segment is willing to pay ?

3. Means to meet the Gap

a. Increase our own Production / Distribution : - Do we have lands / capabilities ? Can we increase the yield per hectare ? Can governement subsidize certain crop production / farming methods ?

b. Source from outside : - Import duties , regulations, etc.

Interetested to hear if this was a good enough structure ? what did i miss ?