22, April, 2014

ELLA Learning Alliance on Small-scale Farming – Module 1: Market Reforms: Success and Limitations

Participants discussed Latin American experiences with market reforms introduced during recent decades. With a focus on the impacts on small-scale farming, participants shared their own perspectives and assessed how Latin American experience and knowledge could be adapted to their own regions.

During the four weeks of Module 1, the Moderator, Manuel Glave, focused on Latin American market reforms and their impacts on small farmers. He also highlighted some practical experiences related to accessing different markets. Market liberalisation policies were reviewed so that participants could gain knowledge of the general framework of the reforms applied in the region in recent decades. Assessing the impacts of these reforms formed a key part of the discussions. Participants discussed the benefits of contract farming experiences in Latin America and its potential in other regions. Finally, the debate centred on practical experiences of market access.

This document summarises the issues raised each week by the Moderator and in participant contributions, as well as the Moderator’s main conclusions. Links to materials shared during this exchange are hyperlinked.

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Key Conclusions:

  • The overall effect of market liberalisation on small-scale farmers is twofold. On the one hand, reforms can reduce poverty and increase smallholder participation in the market economy. On the other hand, market liberalisation can create pressure upon farmers’ natural resource base, increase inequality, and produce asymetrical economic and political power relations between private firms and smallholders.
  • Identifying a portfolio of public goods and services (such as rural roads and other forms of overhead capital, land titling, technical assistance, rural microfinance and agricultural health standards) appears to be a critical factor in order to reduce spatial inequalities between rural and urban areas in developing countries.
  • Nevertheless, it is important to differentiate analysis of the impacts of market reforms on small-scale farmers depending whether they produce crops for local consumption markets, or for the more dynamic urban and export markets.

ELLA knowledge material produced by:

Other ELLA knowledge materials relating to Smallholder Farmers and Rural Development:





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