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Farmer organization, collective action and market access in Meso-America:

  • Hellin, Jon
  • Lundy, Mark
  • Meijer, Madelon
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    "The global agricultural economy is changing. Commodity prices are declining, and producers increasingly supply complex value chains. There is growing interest in how farmers can benefit from emerging market opportunities. Farmers are encouraged to produce high value crops and engage in value-adding activities such as agro-processing. Farmer organization and collective action are often seen as key factors in enhancing farmers' access to markets. Often too little attention is directed at a) the most appropriate types of organization, b) whether the public and/or private sector is best placed to support their formation, and c) the conditions necessary for ensuring their economic viability. This paper reports on research in Mexico and Central America that explored these issues for commodity maize and high value vegetables respectively. The benefits of farmer organization are more evident in the vegetable sector characterized by high transaction costs associated with market access. The research suggests that farmer organizations established by and directly linked to supermarkets may be more economically sustainable as opposed to organizations supported by non-governmental organizations. However, the most representative vegetable producer organizations in both Honduras and El Salvador include fewer than 5 percent of total horticultural producers. This is due to producer organizations' limited business skills and non-replicable organizational models for linking producers to markets. There is less incentive for maize farmers to organize themselves to access output markets as the transaction costs associated with market access are relatively low: there are so many buyers and sellers that farmer organizations would have little impact on, for example, prices. The benefits of farmer organization are clearer when it comes to accessing credit, seed, and fertilizer. Farmer organization is a critical factor in making markets work for the poor particularly in high value products, but the role and timing of the substantial public and private investment needed to establish and maintain these organizations is poorly understood." authors' abstract

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    Paper provided by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in its series CAPRi working papers with number 67.

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    Date of creation: 2007
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    Handle: RePEc:fpr:worpps:67
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    1. Dorward, Andrew & Kydd, Jonathan & Morrison, Jamie & Urey, Ian, 2002. "A Policy Agenda For Pro Poor Agricultural Growth," ADU Working Papers 10923, Imperial College at Wye, Department of Agricultural Sciences.
    2. Michael Boehlje, 1999. "Structural Changes in the Agricultural Industries: How Do We Measure, Analyze and Understand Them?," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1028-1041.
    3. Narayanan, Sudha & Gulati, Ashok, 2002. "Globalization and the smallholders," MTID discussion papers 50, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    4. Key, Nigel & Runsten, David, 1999. "Contract Farming, Smallholders, and Rural Development in Latin America: The Organization of Agroprocessing Firms and the Scale of Outgrower Production," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 381-401, February.
    5. Bellon, Mauricio R. & Adato, Michelle & Becerril, Javier & Mindek, Dubravka, 2005. "Impact of Improved Maize Germplasm on Poverty Alleviation: The Case of Tuxpeno-Derived Materials in Mexico," Impact Studies 7658, CIMMYT: International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center.
    6. Hulme, David & Shepherd, Andrew, 2003. "Conceptualizing Chronic Poverty," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 403-423, March.
    7. Andrew Dorward & Nigel Poole & Jamie Morrison & Jonathan Kydd & Ian Urey, 2003. "Markets, Institutions and Technology: Missing Links in Livelihoods Analysis," Development Policy Review, Overseas Development Institute, vol. 21, pages 319-332, 05.
    8. Masakure, Oliver & Henson, Spencer, 2005. "Why do small-scale producers choose to produce under contract? Lessons from nontraditional vegetable exports from Zimbabwe," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(10), pages 1721-1733, October.
    9. Meinzen-Dick, Ruth Suseela, ed. & Di Gregorio, Monica, ed., 2004. "Collective action and property rights for sustainable development:," 2020 vision focus 11, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
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