The research agenda of the Participation in High-Value Agricultural Markets program focuses on three interrelated areas:
- identifying trends and emerging policy issues in global and local markets for high-value agricultural commodities;
- assessing opportunities and threats to the participation in high-value agricultural commodity supply chains by small farmers and the poor in general, including those related to rising demand for food safety, consolidation in the processing and retailing sectors, and the challenge of meeting quality standards; and
- analyzing policy and investment options for reducing the barriers to increased participation of smallholders, the rural poor, and women in high-value agricultural sectors.
A number of single-country or multi-country studies rely on formal surveys of farmers, traders, and exporters, informal interviews with market participants, and analysis of existing household survey data. The focus of the field research has been on changing patterns of HVAP supply and marketing, concentration of supply chains for HVAP, transactions cost barriers to smallholder participation, the sources of “economies of scale” in HVAP leading to the displacement of the poor, and the role of institutions in facilitating smallholder participation in HVAP markets.
The overall objective of the program is to help policymakers be better informed of the barriers that prevent small-scale farmers in developing countries from greater participation in sales of high-value commodities and the policy options to reduce these barriers. Policy changes are expected to accelerate growth in production of high-value commodities, to contribute towards poverty alleviation, and to increase sustainability.