Almost all small farms produce both for self-consumption and for the market. Successful participation in the market not only depends on factors such as the organisational capacity or the existing infrastructure, but also on how farmers can take advantage of the existing value chains and on how they strike a balance between the monetary and non-monetary economies. Many programmes for rural development focus on developing the value chains that link producers to consumers. Most of them assume that, by connecting farmers to people who can buy, process, package, and market their produce, farmers will increase their incomes. However, increasing the efficiency of value chains does not automatically benefit family farmers, particularly in the face of globalisation or price volatility, so the issue of how farmers can increase their share of the value added, or receive a fair portion of the final price, is often
Issue 29.2 of Farming Matters will look at recent innovations in value chains and emerging agricultural markets. It will look at the ways in which farmers can become more resilient in the face of price fluctuations, climate change, or hostile institutions. What strategies do farmers and their organisations employ to meet the challenges posed by the corporate domination of agricultural markets? This issue will examine the policies and institutional frameworks needed to make value systems work for poor farmers, and how the development of “new economies”, local markets and local value chains can improve rural livelihoods in a sustainable way. This also implies strengthening the autonomy of family farmers and enhancing multifunctionality on agro-ecological farms.
Send us your contributions! Please visit our website and make suggestions, comments or ideas for this issue. Articles for the June 2013 issue of Farming Matters should be sent to Jorge Chavez-Tafur, editor, before March 1st, 2013 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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