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The role of collective action in the marketing of underutilized plant species: Lessons from a case study on minor millets in South India


  • Gruère, Guillaume
  • Nagarajan, Latha
  • King, E.D.I. Oliver


Underutilized plant species are generally defined by their unexploited economic potential, making them an appropriate focus for market development. This paper analyses the role of collective action in the process of market development for minor millets, an underutilized plant species, in the Kolli Hills of Tamil Nadu, India. Based on a series of focus group discussions, we analyze the role and involvement of self-help groups in the minor millet marketing chain recently set up by the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation. We then compare the role of collective action in this new market with the cases of marketing chains for cassava and organic pineapples, two cash crops with expanding production in the same area. Our analysis shows the critical role of collective action as a necessary but not sufficient condition for the successful commercialization of underutilized plant species for the benefit of the poor and the conservation of agro-biodiversity.

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  • Gruère, Guillaume & Nagarajan, Latha & King, E.D.I. Oliver, 2009. "The role of collective action in the marketing of underutilized plant species: Lessons from a case study on minor millets in South India," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 39-45, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jfpoli:v:34:y:2009:i:1:p:39-45

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Meinzen-Dick, Ruth & DiGregorio, Monica & McCarthy, Nancy, 2004. "Methods for studying collective action in rural development," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 82(3), pages 197-214, December.
    2. Poulton, Colin & Dorward, Andrew & Kydd, Jonathan, 2010. "The Future of Small Farms: New Directions for Services, Institutions, and Intermediation," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(10), pages 1413-1428, October.
    3. Bebbington, Anthony, 1996. "Organizations and intensifications: Campesino federations, rural livelihoods and agricultural technology in the Andes and Amazonia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 24(7), pages 1161-1177, July.
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    1. Giacomo Pallante & Adam Drucker, 2014. "Niche Markets for Agrobiodiversity Conservation: Preference and Scale Heterogeneity Effects on Nepalese Consumers’ WTP for Finger Millet Products," SEEDS Working Papers 1414, SEEDS, Sustainability Environmental Economics and Dynamics Studies, revised May 2014.
    2. Raghu, Prabhakaran T. & Das, Sukanya & Ravi, S. Bala & King, E.D. Israel Oliver, 2012. "Use of Contingent Valuation to Assess Farmer Preference for On-farm Conservation of Minor Millets: Case from South India," Indian Journal of Agricultural Economics, Indian Society of Agricultural Economics, vol. 67(3), pages 1-14.
    3. Krishna, Vijesh V. & Drucker, Adam G. & Pascual, Unai & Raghu, Prabhakaran T. & King, E.D. Israel Oliver, 2013. "Estimating compensation payments for on-farm conservation of agricultural biodiversity in developing countries," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 110-123.
    4. Prabhakaran Raghu & Sukanya Das & S. Ravi & E.D.Israel King, 2013. "Assessing Farmer ’s Willingness to Participate in the On - farm Conservation of Minor Millet using Direct Compensation Payment," Working Papers id:5329, eSocialSciences.
    5. Gea Galluzzi & Isabel López Noriega, 2014. "Conservation and Use of Genetic Resources of Underutilized Crops in the Americas—A Continental Analysis," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(2), pages 1-38, February.
    6. Tenkasi Raghu, Prabhakaran & Das, Sukanya & S, Bala Ravi & E.D.I, Oliver King, 2012. "Assessing Farmer’s Willingness to Participate in the On-farm Conservation of Minor Millet using Direct Compensation Payment," MPRA Paper 45079, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Liu, H. & Deng, H. & Xu, Z. & Lu, W., 2018. "Emerging Agricultural Cooperatives and The Structural Change of Crop Production in China," 2018 Conference, July 28-August 2, 2018, Vancouver, British Columbia 277324, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    8. Lowitt, Kristen & Hickey, Gordon M. & Ganpat, Wayne & Phillip, Leroy, 2015. "Linking Communities of Practice with Value Chain Development in Smallholder Farming Systems," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 363-373.
    9. Evans Ngenoh & Barnabas K. Kurgat & Hillary K. Bett & Sindu W. Kebede & Wolfgang Bokelmann, 2019. "Determinants of the competitiveness of smallholder African indigenous vegetable farmers in high-value agro-food chains in Kenya: A multivariate probit regression analysis," Agricultural and Food Economics, Springer;Italian Society of Agricultural Economics (SIDEA), vol. 7(1), pages 1-17, December.
    10. Pallante, Giacomo & Drucker, Adam G. & Sthapit, Sajal, 2016. "Assessing the potential for niche market development to contribute to farmers' livelihoods and agrobiodiversity conservation: Insights from the finger millet case study in Nepal," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 92-105.

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