Collective action for small-scale producers of agricultural biodiversity products
The role of well-functioning markets for development is now widely recognized. However the challenge remains to make these markets benefit the poor and the environment. Increasing attention is being given to the potential role markets can play for agrobiodiversity conservation through product diversification and increasing competitiveness in niche and novelty markets. Several case studies were undertaken that explore the use of market-based approaches to on-farm agrobiodiversity management and livelihood improvement. This paper explores how the theory of collective action can provide a more synthetic understanding of how market chains operate, and the changes that could permit a more equitable distribution of benefits. The case studies illustrate the need for improved trust, mutual understanding of each actor's involvement, and an agreed process of collective action with a high level of community participation. The cases differ in their degree of collective action, the level of market organization and the ways in which handling, processing, and innovative marketing add value to the agrobiodiversity products. Comparative analysis identified a range of situations in which market development can support agrobiodiversity conservation and livelihoods.
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