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Market access for small farmers : The new standards challenge

Daviron B., Vagneron I.. 2008. In : Kochendorfer-Lucius Gudrun (ed.), Pleskovic Boris (ed.). Agriculture and development. Washington : World Bank, p. 41-47. (Berlin Workshop Series, 2008).

The reasoning presented in this paper is based on our past work on international trade in tropical products, in which we address the question, What institutions are needed to give small farmers access to distant consumers? Distance is an obvious "problem" in tropical trade-it means time and risk-but it is also a "problem" for many value chains, including domestic ones in developing countries. In this paper we argue that the "old" system of grades and standards played a central role in giving small farmers access to distant consumers. They did so by allowing the creation of markets at the farm-gate level or close to villages. Thereby, the historical system of grades and standards enabled small farmers to "impose" their effectiveness on large farms (plantations). Today new standards are emerging. Most of them are process oriented, unlike the old ones, which just defined some intrinsic characteristics of the products. The new process-oriented standards do not eliminate the possibility of market transactions at the farm gate. One of their "functions" is to organize market transactions (including contracts) at the farm level. More important, they are drastically changing the economics of labor supervision in agricultural production and thus the competition between small and large farms.

Mots-clés : produit agricole; commerce international; petite exploitation agricole; marché; commercialisation; consommateur

Chapitre d'ouvrage

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