The Centre for Global Food and Resources (GFAR) recently conducted a workshop on ‘Developing Smallholder Inclusive Food Value Chains for Local and Global Markets’ at the Padma Legian Hotel from June 4-6 in Bali, Indonesia. This was the final workshop for the project for APEC, funded by the Government of Australia through its Economic Diplomacy Fund.
The team from GFAR comprised lead researchers Prof Christopher Findlay, Prof Wendy Umberger and Dr Risti Permani, with the assistance of Dr Susan Nelle, Mr Rida Akzar, Mr Rohan Yargop and Dr Titik Anas of Presisi Indonesia.
Below, Rohan Yargop, provides an overview of the workshop.
In today’s dynamic world of food systems, business models frequently exclude smallholders owing to high transaction costs, inabilities of smallholders to meet new market requirements as a result of lacking the required skills, technology, financing and inadequate infrastructure due to under-investment.
This project aims to study value chain models that are smallholder inclusive and identify efficient pathways for market access for their products in local and global markets in seven Asian economies of Cambodia, China, Lao PDR, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan. Each country study has been led by a key researcher from each country and this has resulted in an expert cohort of key researchers collaborating with the team at GFAR in this project, which was initiated in September 2015.
The workshop was an incredible learning experience and an excellent platform for sharing of ideas and results from in-country field research. It gave an opportunity to showcase various value chain models throughout the region and identify patterns of similarity and efficiency that can be replicated throughout to develop a model inclusive of smallholders.
Across the seven countries smallholder inclusive value chain models were studied and discussed about at the workshop from sectors including horticulture, fishery, meat and dairy. The case of organic vegetable value chain models from Cambodia and Lao PDR, the case of dairy from Indonesia, Poultry from Vietnam, Beef value chain from the inner Mongolian region of China, Mango industry from Philippines and the case of the Taipei Agricultural Products Marketing Corporation (TAPMC) from Taiwan were showcased and discussed at the workshop.
Along with the key researchers from seven countries, the workshop was attended by experts from the industry, Government and NGO’s operating in Asia and working towards upliftment of smallholders. Experts from industry included representatives from organisations like Unilever Indonesia, CIAT (International Centre for Tropical Agriculture), PISAgro (Partnership for Indonesia Sustainable Agriculture), and NGO’s like BSR Hong Kong (Business for Social Responsibility), VECO Indonesia and World Neighbors.
The workshop looked at elements of these business models and critical success factors across sectors to eventually put them into subsets of replicable models and what circumstances those models function in. In order to do so it was essential to understand the stimulus behind initiation of these models, and also to understand how success is defined from a dual perspective; that of the smallholder and of the business including the smallholder in its value chain.
In many cases it was observed that there is not a great deal of difference in models across sectors except when value addition activities are involved in the chain. The inclusiveness of smallholders in the value chain relies upon satisfaction of key indicators which are ownership (ownership of land, crops), Voice (voice to make their decisions), risk (an indicator of shared risk) and reward (benefits from engaging within the chain).
Also, the competitiveness of business models was assessed in terms of how sustainable the business models would be to respond to the dynamics of global food markets. The workshop discussion and exercises also looked at identifying gender inclusiveness within value chain models. There was give and take of ideas on the issue of government policies and their implications on inclusiveness of smallholders.
The next step in the project includes comprehensive data analysis of each in-country collected data by the key researchers. The team at GFAR will compile a final report for this project which is due end of August.
More details of the workshop and the project can be found at: http://www.adelaide.edu.au/global-food/research/smallholder-inclusive/