The development, marketing, distribution, and use of agricultural inputs (land, capital, and labor) play a large role in determining production, yields, and access to markets for agricultural products. Similarly, delivery channels for agricultural outputs—through commodity value chains—depend on inclusive and efficient markets. Access to dynamic markets, efficient contract farming arrangements, horizontal coordination mechanisms as rural producer organizations, better access to information and risk-coping tools, greater opportunities for gender equity—are all means to encourage the economic growth and development critical to attaining food security. Unfortunately, the efforts of developing countries to move toward a more market-oriented agricultural economy can be hampered by ineffective policies, weak institutions, and inadequate infrastructure (hard and soft).
IFPRI researchers study every component of the value chain to understand ways that these challenges can be addressed, from removing market access constraints to enhancing the smallholder benefits from market participation. They use tools and experimental approaches developed by IFPRI to test and validate innovative marketing arrangements and public interventions that will help develop value chains that are efficient, inclusive, and resilient to external shocks. The Institute’s work in this area will increase understanding of the issues surrounding risk management, collective action, redressing market failures and missing markets, and prioritizing public investments to reduce gaps in physical infrastructure.