Community-Based Microtrade in Support of Small-Scale Farmers in Thailand and Tanzania
Drawing on two action-research projects conducted between 2007 and 2011, this paper compares the benefits of pro-poor microtrade arrangements for smallholder litchi growers in northern Thailand and small-scale vanilla growers in northwestern Tanzania. The case studies combine various qualitative and participatory research methods with an in-depth analysis of the underlying social, economic and knowledge networks. Theoretically, our research is grounded in the concept of strategic niche management, which emphasizes networking, experiential learning, and the convergence of expectations among producers, exporters, consumers and supporting agencies. Our findings suggest that community-based microtrade with high-value agricultural products can be particularly beneficial for small producers and marginalized groups, such as women and the elderly. Evidence from the comparative study of the two cases further underscores the importance of external knowledge and innovation intermediaries in the formation of community-based and pro-poor microtrade arrangements. We conclude that long-term knowledge and innovation partnerships need to be established to successfully connect smallholder farmers to international markets and to carefully balance the power differentials among all actors along the supply chain.
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Volume (Year): 5 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 (May)
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