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.