Hivos International

Small holders in East-Africa and Asia

Two research papers have been published in the Knowledge Programme Small Producer Agency in a Globalised Market.

The first paper, "Innovating to compete: Smallholder farmers' agency and markets in East Africa", describes how and where small-scale farmers are trading, how  their markets work and how these markets can help improve mechanisms  that support the flexibility of informality while taking into account  issues such as food safety, the environment and corruption, that work  against the interests of farmers and consumers. Although it is conventional wisdom among policy makers and development organizations that small producers must be integrated into the modern market, research and experience from this Knowledge Programme suggests that this focus ignores the majority of small-scale farmers and the fact that many  people in the region still buy their food from traditional  markets and small retailers. You can download the paper here.

The second paper, entitled "Small-scale farmers' decisions in globalised markets", draws lessons from case-studies undertaken in China, India and Indonesia. There are about 435 million small-scale farmers in Asia, most of whom cultivate land parcels of less than 2 hectares for subsistence and  require other livelihood activities to sustain themselves. In this research paper, the diversity of their situation is highlighted and conventional wisdom is challenged. The current view of the small-scale farmer as a victim or beneficiary of external interventions is replaced by one in which small producers in Asia are conceived as dynamic actoris trying, through innovative methods, to make markets work for them. You can download the paper here.

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