Enhancing the competitiveness of
rural agroenterprises through better integration of supply
chains and delivery of effective business support services.
At the PhAction annual meeting last year in Montpellier,
the proponents of Theme 2, which include GTZ, NRI, CIRAD,
IITA, and CIAT, decided to put forward a concept note to
BMZ for funding through its targeted funding facility for
International Agricultural Research Centres. Traidcraft
was invited and accepted to participate in the project proposal
preparation. In September and October, the group worked
by e-mail to develop the concept note that was presented
by CIAT on behalf of PhAction in November.
February 2002, we were informed by BMZ that the concept
note had been accepted for full proposal development. Representatives
of the participating institutions met in Eschborn, Germany,
hosted by GTZ, on 22 and 23 April to discuss and prepare
the outline of the proposal according to the BMZ guidelines.
The proposal aims to generate and organize information resources
for use by development organizations that will assist them
in the establishment of effective and equitable linkages
between the small-scale agrifood sector of developing countries
(farmers, processors, traders etc) and emerging domestic
and international agrifood markets, which have been segmented
according to consumption trends. Although the work will
focus its attention on E. Africa and S. Asia, the search
for methods and tools developed by others for inclusion
in the information resource base will be cast globally.
There is a close correspondence between the developments
reported in Theme 1 and what we hope to achieve in this
project in terms of web tools. A summary of the proposal
that was presented to BMZ is provided below. We expect to
hear in October whether or not the proposal has been approved
for financing. Should we be successful, the project would
get under way during the first trimester of 2003.
Attacking rural poverty through trade: linking smallholder
farmers to high value agrifood markets in E. Africa and
To enhance livelihood options for the rural poor through
organizational schemes that deliver long-term linkages with
high value, agrifood supply chains.
Development organisations have access to and are using a
range of information resources that assist in the organisation
of effective and equitable linkages between the small-scale
agrifood sector of developing countries (farmers, processors,
traders etc) and emerging domestic and international agrifood
markets segmented according to consumption trends.
resources inventoried and organised, and a "road map"
and guide for the process of linking smallholder farmers
to high value markets developed.
2.Methods and tools
validated and adapted through action research carried out
with selected enterprise/supply chain development projects
3. Options for improving
the sustainability and benefit distribution of supply chains
in which smallholders are major actors, investigated and
Sustainable community of practice with access
to project results for achieving developmental impact.
managed, monitored and evaluated
Ensuring that the rural poor benefit from globalisation,
that agrifood trade works to reduce poverty, rather than
exacerbating it, is critical for many developing countries.
Small farmers run the risk of being forced to link to, or
becoming marginalised by, agrifood supply chains that are
increasingly competitive and vertically integrated, in a
sector that is becoming highly concentrated (especially
in international markets). High value agrifood goods (produce
and products) have the potential for smallholder farmers
to escape from the syndrome of producing low value, poor
quality products for local markets where consumers have
only low purchasing power. Demand for such products is increasing,
in domestic, developing country and international markets.
However, an understanding of which market segments and supply
chains offer the best prospects for meeting poverty alleviation
and environmental objectives, of how the rural poor can
link to these chains in a manner that is both equitable
and commercially viable, and whether these markets have
the potential to make a major impact on rural poverty are
all lacking at present. While some valuable experiences
that cross the barriers between "development"
and "commerce" exist, these remain small islands
of success. This project aims to expand the number of such
cases, and bring R&D expertise to bear on them so that
general lessons can be drawn, impact maximised, and a comprehensive
suite of methods and tools organised.
Expected uses and users of research results
The research results will be made available through the
website and other channels (eg CD-rom) as an inventory of
methods and tools (combining those already available with
others developed during this project), together with a guide
that facilitates their selection and use depending on the
development situation encountered. The project will also
result in a creation and consolidation of a community of
practice (comprising the project partners and involved stakeholders)
that could develop a continuing R&D agenda, beyond the
life of this project. Users of the research results will
be development institutions, primarily large international
and Southern NGOs, but also local development public sector
authorities, private sector industry associations, and rural
community organizations involved in supporting the development
of competitive yet equitable links between poor rural people,
including smallholders and the landless (who can benefit
through generation of employment), and higher value domestic
and international markets.
Research methodology and procedure
This project will:
Inventory and organise existing information resources for
linking smallholder farmers to markets, especially higher
Involve partners and stakeholders in the development of
guide or "road map" for their use in different
Conduct strategic research on major issues, using graduate
students supervised by NRI and CIRAD.
Conduct action research to validate and refine methods and
tools, as well as to address research issues, in specific
locations/supply chains and with local stakeholders.
Add value to this through cross-project analysis and systematisation
Incorporate these results, and information resources developed
from them, into the guide and road map.
Create, promote and develop a web-based platform for the
dissemination of the above outputs, and a virtual channel
for stakeholder input to project decision-making.
Involve all partners and relevant stakeholder representatives
in project decision-making, through a steering committee
that meets regularly during the lifetime of the project.
The project will focus on supply chains for higher value
and value-added agrifood products from S Asia and E Africa,
in international and domestic markets. Within the international
market, emphasis will be placed on supply chains linked
to the EU. Potential action research sites have been identified
in both E Africa (Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya) and S Asia (Sri
Conclusions from completed studies
During the development of the PhAction "linking farmers
to markets" initiative (GTZ and PhAction, 2000), the
development of efficient, equitable and responsible agrifood
supply chains was prioritised based on the experiences of
PhAction members and their partners. The review document
prepared for this process stresses the importance of seeking
value added markets, complementing production of basic commodities,
for poverty alleviation through rural agroenterprises (Wheatley,
2001). For small farmers in developing countries, building
on these options requires making difficult and different
types of decisions, based on new sources of information
(on market demands) and which require different sets of
skills, technologies and resources to those needed for traditional
R&D assistance should:
take a more demand-driven, production to consumption
chain and systems approach that includes technological,
marketing and organisational aspects of post-harvest components
of these chains, as well as crop and livestock production
focus on "processes", for example certification,
grades and standards, rather than on inputs and technologies,
work more closely with the different stakeholders, including
the private sector and NGOs that are involved in such supply
chains, to identify and build on concrete opportunities.
While a number of different approaches, methods and tools
to facilitate and support this endeavour have been developed,
a systematic guide and road map for their use is lacking,
and their dissemination is patchy.
Stakeholders will be have opportunities to make direct input
to project decisions, though membership of the steering
committee and of the wider community of practice, as this
develops. Site-specific action research will involve relevant
stakeholders active in those locations. Key stakeholders
in each of the following major categories will be identified:
International (Northern) and national (Southern) NGOs that
operate or facilitate access to higher value supply chains,
including organic and ethical/fairtrade segments.
Private sector agrifood enterprises/industry associations
(mainstream food industry companies, major retail groups
in the South and in Europe, food industry trade associations).
Public sector agencies - EU and developing countries. Food
quality and safety (regulatory and policy making bodies),
and relevant government departments.
Regional networks or institutions and public sector agencies
-developing countries. Rural development ministries/departments
and food industry and food quality/safety organizations
Local grassroots community organizations, associations,
producers' organisations and enterprises in the developing
world, plus their support institutions (public sector and
Rupert Best (leader), Rural Agroenterprise Development Project,
and Nancy Johnson, Impact Assessment Project, CIAT
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit
(GTZ): Division 45-Rural Development. Christian Henckes
(Eschborn) and Volker Steigerwald, GTZ, Sri Lanka.
Natural Resources Institute (NRI):
Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche
Agronomique pour le Développement (CIRAD):
Traidcraft, UK: Geoffrey Bockett.
International Institute for Tropical
Agriculture: Shaun Ferris, coordinator of Foodnet
Sri Lanka: Ministry of Central
Region Development, Kandy District.
Budget total requested
US$ 1,356,480 over a period of 3 years (? 1,474,434 at an
exchange of US$ 1.00 = ? 0.92).