Synthesis Documents

Strategies to Increase the Competitiveness of Smallholder Chains: CIAT Field Manual - Lundy, Gottret, Cifuentes, Ostertag & Best, 2004

    This Manual, produced by CIAT with support from IDRC, is the result of many years of action research carried out in Latin America with producer groups, local NGOs, government agencies, and the private sector.

    The Manual combines the work and lessons learned by several pioneering organizations so that other rural communities can apply and adapt them to their own needs. CIAT and its partners - Cabuyal River micro-watershed communities and CIPASLA, Colombia; Yorito and Sulaco communities and CLODEST, Honduras; CODESU, Peru; and CARE Nicaragua - developed methodologies aiming to respond to the needs of rural development organizations focused on rural agro-enterprise development (RAED). This manual is the third in a series of documents designed to support agencies implementing a territorial approach to agro-enterprise development. The series currently includes:
    - A guide to developing partnerships and territorial characterization,
    - A guide to identifying market opportunities with smallholder producers and processors,
    - Strategies to improve the competitiveness of market chains with smallholder producers,
    - Collective marketing with small-scale producers, and
    - A guide to evaluating and strengthening Rural Business Development Services.

    The manuals are designed for use by service providers assisting farmer groups and others to develop skills in agro-enterprise development and should be adapted to local situations, available resources, and the anticipated scale of implementation.

    This manual begins with a detailed participatory analysis of a selected market chain followed by an analysis of the critical points that need to be addressed when designing an agro-enterprise support strategy for the chain. It is divided into 10 modules that explain the methodology and tools that may prove useful in the field.

    Summary of results
    This approach requires considerable time and commitment for designing and implementing a market chain strategy. CIAT recommends doing this only when the market opportunity merits this investment and there is a strong possibility of increasing sales and incomes of various actors. CIAT's experience has shown that trying to organize a competitive strategy around a market chain with low value or minimum possibilities of added value is more difficult than around a market chain with good potential for access to increased income. In the case of new or promising market chains, care must be taken in analyzing and understanding existing market opportunities so as not to generate false expectations.

    Associated Activities and Documents
    »Value Adding, Agroenterprise, and Poverty Reduction: A territorial approach, CIAT, Colombia, Lundy, et al, 2002