Approaches to linking producers to markets

A review of experiences to date

This Paper examines experiences of linking farmers to markets, in order to reach some tentative conclusions regarding success factors. It mainly considers examples of linkages promoted by outside organizations such as NGOs. Issues discussed include the choice of markets, the capacity of the linking organizations, and the relationship between the private sector, NGOs and farmers. Linking farmers to new markets invariably involves farmers organizing into formal or informal groups. Experiences with group organization are reviewed, as is the question of finance. Problems faced by farmers in maintaining linkages are examined and sustainability and scaling-up of linkage activities considered. A check-list of issues to address when planning market linkages is provided as an annex. The paper also considers the enabling environment that governments must provide if linking farmers to markets is to prove successful.
The paper is aimed at staff of NGOs, both those working at the policy level and in the field; at donor organizations and the projects they support; and at ministry of agriculture policymakers and extension services. It should also be useful for private sector companies seeking to develop linkages with small farmers.

      Linking farmers to markets
AGS main series:
  Agricultural Management, Marketing and Finance Occasional Papers
  Andrew W. Shepherd
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