Triggering Coordination and Consolidation: assessing impacts of preferential policies aimed to enable bulking and post-harvest processing of smallholder farmers' produce in agri-food chains
11 / 2009 - 12 / 2013
Many public and private initiatives aim to improve the performance of agricultural value chains. Especially, the capacities to manage information flows between downstream buyers and upstream producers about quantity and quality of their production is key in determining competitiveness in national (urban) and international markets. Linked to the globalization and emergin 'new food economy', the sourcing of products is done in an increasingly wider geographical area with stricter quality requirements. To avoid 'exclusion' of downstream markets the chain has to respond to market signals and be robust enough to cope with dynamics in continually changing markets (price, sales channels, quality attributes). Small-scale farmers tend to loose out in these market dynamics, Sourcing from small- scale farmers is done through different institutional configurations with different (combinations of) chain actors. The 'consolidation centres' or 'bulking nodes', where threshold volume is generated to enter transactions in urban and international markets, are institutional arrangements between transacting partners and are combined with different modalities of horizontal coordination and different degrees of collective action. The research wants to identigy how these institutional arrangements, embodied in specific internal incentive structures (e.g. internal rules, contract conditions, control systems that have developed in the transactions with the farmers), are influenced by the changes in the external incentive structure, e.g. the specific policy intervention/instrument.