Agribusiness/Agriculture Division

What is the future for small-scale farmers in the modern agrifood and/or agribusiness system? In all parts of the world the modern retail revolution is reshaping the way food is produced, procured and retailed. Rapid changes in dynamic modern markets affect the entire value chain—consumers, retailers, wholesalers, processors and producers—with enormous implications for the competitiveness and future viability of small-scale producers.

Market driven approaches towards local economic development and rural wealth creation, whereby agribusinesses play a vital role, have become mainstreamed over the past years. The main focus of these approaches is on global and niche markets, large corporations and sustainable international trade. For most smallholder farmers and rural poor, however, local economies driven by the dynamics of rural fresh produce markets are far more important.

Three out of four of the world’s poor live in rural areas. Opportunities for economic growth in these areas are changing rapidly due to declining natural resources, continuing rural-urban migration and reduced access to productive land. On top of this, local economies are impacted by global forces like market liberalization, expanding global production systems and the changing terms of trade. Amidst these dynamics, social enterprises and or companies, local governance structures, civic society and research institutes are expected to come up with effective strategies to revitalize rural areas into vibrant local economies. CHIPUA is doing just that: assisting and working together with farmers to design strategies that can catalyse rural economies through smallholder inclusion and employment creation.