Publication [ID: 119]

Rural producer agency and agricultural value chains: What role for socio-legal empowerment?

While policies and programmes aim to integrate small-scale rural producers into agricultural value chains, questions remain over how best to: recognise the possibly divergent visions, interests and constraints of different value chain actors; address often substantial power imbalances in value chains; and ultimately promote agency among rural producers and their communities – that is, their ability to choose, act and influence realities around them. The International Institute for Environment and Development (iied) has recently released a report that investigates these questions.

Based on a review of trends in commercial agriculture and experience of supporting rural producers and communities, the report develops a conceptual framework to further understand, test and strengthen the contribution that socio-legal empowerment can make to enhance the agency of rural actors as they engage with, or are affected by, commercial agriculture. 

The report was prepared for the Empowering Producers in Commercial Agriculture (EPIC) project, which is supported by the UK Department for International Development. Building on the report’s conceptual framework, EPIC will work to support small-scale rural producers and their communities in Malawi and Nepal.

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