A Scoping Review of Market Links Between Value Chain Actors and Small-scale Producers in Developing Regions



Lenis Saweda O. Liverpool-Tasie, Ayala Wineman, Sarah Young, Justice Tambo, Carolina Vargas, Thomas Reardon, Guigonan Serge Adjognon, Jaron Porciello, Nasra Gathoni, Livia Bizikova, Alessandra Galiè & Ashley Celestin | Nature Sustainability

Sustainable Development Goal 2 aims to end hunger, achieve food and nutrition security and promote sustainable agriculture by 2030. This requires that small-scale producers be included in, and benefit from, the rapid growth and transformation under way in food systems. Small-scale producers interact with various actors when they link with markets, including product traders, logistics firms, processors and retailers. The literature has explored primarily how large firms interact with farmers through formal contracts and resource provision arrangements. Although important, contracts constitute a very small share of smallholder market interactions. There has been little exploration of whether non-contract interactions between small farmers and both small- and large-scale value chain actors have affected small farmers’ livelihoods. This scoping review covers 202 studies on that topic. We find that non-contract interactions, de facto mostly with small and medium enterprises, benefit small-scale producers via similar mechanisms that the literature has previously credited to large firms. Small and medium enterprises, not just large enterprises, address idiosyncratic market failures and asset shortfalls of small-scale producers by providing them, through informal arrangements, with complementary services such as input provision, credit, information and logistics. Providing these services directly supports Sustainable Development Goal 2 by improving farmer welfare through technology adoption and greater productivity.

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Lenis Saweda O. Liverpool-Tasie is an Associate Professor in the Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics at Michigan State University.

Ayala Wineman is a Research Associate in Evans School of Public Policy & Governance at University of Washington.

Sarah Young is a Senior Librarian at Carnegie Mellon University.

Justice Tambo is a Socio-Economist at the Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International.

Carolina Vargas is a Master’s/PhD Student in the Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics at Michigan State University.

Thomas Reardon is a Professor and MSU Distinguished Faculty in  Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics at Michigan State University.

Guigonan Serge Adjognon is an Agricultural Economist on the Development Impact Evaluation (DIME) Team at theWorld Bank.

Jaron Porciello is an Associate Director for Research Data Engagement in the Department of Global Development at Cornell University.

Nasra Gathoni is part of the faculty of Health Sciences Librarian at Aga Khan University.

Livia Bizikova is the Lead, Monitoring and Governance, Tracking Progress at International Institute for Sustainable Development.

Alessandra Galiè is a senior scientist at the Gender International Livestock Research Institute.

Ashley Celestin is a Master of Professional Studies candidate in International Agriculture and Rural Development at Cornell University.