ECO-opia

Steve Wiggins

By Steve Wiggins

 

The “Making the Connection” conference on agricultural value chains is remarkable for the degree to which so many of those speaking agree on the key elements of linking small farmers to markets. A broad consensus can readily be seen.

So what do people agree on? Four sets of thoughts stand out:

Firstly, there are fundamentals which governments have to provide. This is to say, an enabling environment made up of peace, macro-economic stability, clear property rights, basic contract law, weights and measures as well as rural public goods that private firms and citizens will not supply: roads, electricity; education, clean water, health care; and agricultural research and extension. When these are missing, then it’s hard for private and collective efforts to prosper.

Secondly, business models must confer realizable benefits for all in the supply chain, not least smallholders. This includes targeting the most…

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