Marketing systems are undergoing rapid transformation. Traditional marketing channels with sales are being replaced by coordinated links between farmers, processors, retailers and others, particularly for the export sector and for supplies to local processors and supermarkets. As incomes increase, food consumption patterns are changing, with a greater emphasis on meat, dairy products and fruits and vegetables. Consumers are becoming more demanding in terms of quality and safety and demographic and income trends are leading to increased demand for convenience foods, together with assurances of product safety. New “value chains” are emerging to meet these demands.
While many linkages with farmers are being developed by companies themselves, often with little or no outside assistance, in other cases donors, NGOs are increasingly recognizing the need for activities that link farmers to market demand. Under the “Linking Farmers to Markets” approach the development of long-term business relationships rather than support for sales, is stressed and donors and NGOs are providing the catalyst for farmers to work more closely with the private sector.
The AGS Division has a number of ongoing activities in this area.