Value chains, markets and small enterprises

Well-structured and competitive agri-food value chains whose benefits are fairly distributed between stakeholders, more effective policies and better informed actors with stronger negotiating skills…These are just some of the many issues that Iram tackles in this field.

Supporting competitive, equitable and sustainable value chains in developing countries

Agri-food chains in developing countries face numerous challenges: variable agricultural prices on international markets, the liberalisation of international trade and agricultural economies, increasingly segmented markets, State withdrawal, strong demographic growth, changing patterns of consumption, rapid urbanisation and the proliferation of production, processing and marketing standards. The family farms that generate most of the agricultural produce for many value chains are often poorly linked with markets, face unfair competition from imported goods, and rarely see much of the wealth created by the value chains that they supply.

These weaknesses are accentuated by the differing abilities of value chain actors to access information (about prices, markets, quality of produce, etc.) and negotiate fair deals, and the difficulty that decision makers and professionals have in analysing the effects that policies on taxation, tariffs, customs, product standards, quotas, etc. have on value chains.

In this context, it is important to:

  • Help create satisfactory market conditions for family farmers. This requires favourable policies, appropriate technical and economic frameworks and action to reconnect value chains with their home territories.
  • Structure and professionalise agri-food value chains so that benefits are shared between actors along the chain, through professional agricultural organisations and inter-professional bodies. This will improve the functioning of value chains, make them more competitive and help supply growing markets.

Iram’s approach

Iram’s interventions are intended to help:

  • Improve the organisation of agri-food value chains, strengthen dynamics between different economic operators, and build the capacities of public and private actors. The aim is to enable family farmers to become more efficient and competitive, improve their capacity to negotiate and access markets by establishing consultative structures and contractual tools for producers and enterprises downstream in the chain, develop business and processing strategies to add value to producers’ outputs, and improve their capacity to negotiate with downstream actors and public authorities.
  • Set up market information systems and value chain observatories to enable all actors in the chain to access information.
  • Formulate value chain policies:
    (i) develop tools to aid decision making (by analysing the effects of policies, etc.),
    (ii) produce value chain analyses to inform policy decisions,
    (iii) train operators and public authorities on value chain analysis.