COVID-19 and Fresh Produce Value Chains: A Latin American Supply Response

October 20, 2020 - 2:00 pm
Penny Bamber and Karina Fernandez-Stark
GSC flyer

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the global fruit and vegetable trade, impacting both demand and supply. Images of fresh produce being dumped or left to rot in the fields flooded news channels during several months of 2020. This webinar will discuss how Latin American suppliers in the global industry responded to this crisis. These suppliers are amongst the largest of fresh fruit and vegetables exporters globally, and the labor-intensive sector provides employment and income for millions of workers and producers within these developing country economies. Topics will include how extreme competition and pressure from buyers within the Global Value Chain (GVC) prior to COVID prepared many of these suppliers to rise to the occasion; the dramatic rise of e-commerce and its impact on the relationships between actors in the chain and the likely re-shaping of these global supply chains as a result of the crisis.

Join the Duke Center for International and Global Studies (DUCIGS) Rethinking Diplomacy Program for a conversation with two GVC experts Penny Bamber and Karina Fernandez-Stark. The discussion will be jointly moderated by Duke faculties Gary Gereffi, Director of Duke Global Value Chains Center, and Giovanni Zanalda, Director of the Duke University Center for International and Global Studies (DUCIGS). 

Penny Bamber is an international trade and investment specialist, with over a decade of experience working at the intersection of international economics and economic development with the Duke Global Value Chain Center. Her expertise lies in examining global industry dynamics to identify opportunities for different actors to engage and developing strategies and solutions for them to do so. Her work has covered a broad range of sectors and geographies, from inserting marginalized actors into the agricultural and mining industries in Latin America, advising on industrial policy development in the Philippines to examining the impact of automation on the future of Chinese industry. She has published extensively, contributing to numerous books, reports and journal articles on economic growth and development, technology and skills for the future and the role of gender amongst others. Penny has a Master’s in Public Policy from the University of Chile and a Bachelor’s in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania. 

Karina Fernandez-Stark is an international consultant and a Duke Global Value Chains Center Affiliate, who has led numerous research projects related to economic development and competitiveness around the world. She has consulted for the African Development Bank, ECLAC, Inter-American Development Bank, OECD, UNCTAD and the World Bank, amongst others. Together with Gary Gereffi, Karina authored the highly cited book “The Global Value Chain Analysis: A Primer”. She has published several research reports and articles on industrial upgrading and social and economic development. Her areas of expertise cover a wide range of economic sectors including agriculture, mining and services. In addition, she is an expert in policy development for trade, competitiveness, skills development, gender and SMEs. Her research continuously brings a policy focus advising country governments in different continents. Karina has conducted Global Value Chains workshops in Africa, Asia and the Americas. She designed and developed a GVC manual in Spanish for economic development researchers in Latin America. Karina is a Chilean who holds a BA in Journalism and Political Science and a Master’s degree in International Development Policy from Duke University.

This event is the fifth webinar in the DUCIGS/Rethinking Diplomacy Program, "COVID-19 and Global Supply Chain Series," supported by the Josiah Charles Trent Memorial Foundation Endowment Fund. For articles and videos of the first four installments follow the link.  

This event is open to the public, but registration is required. Please click HERE to register. 

Contact name

More event info


  • Duke University Center for International and Global Studies
  • Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS)
  • Rethinking Diplomacy