Developing smallholder inclusive food value chain models for local and global markets


In many economies, market forces have resulted in the development of food value chains that directly connect food producers with modern retail outlets such as supermarkets, hypermarkets and food processors. These chains also operate across international borders. Their origins lie in the changing demands of consumers, the growth of new forms of modern food retailing and processing and the emergence of specialist providers of services relevant to these chains. They can provide safe and secure delivery of food consistent with trade patterns according to comparative advantage.

The dilemma is that previous research has shown that these new business models often exclude smallholders. This is due to potentially high transaction costs of dealing with a large number of heterogeneous sellers, smallholders’ inabilities to meet new market requirements as a result of lacking the necessary skills, technology, financing, and/or inadequate infrastructure due to chronic under-investment. Yet, farmers who are able to participate are found to have significantly higher incomes by a factor of 3 to 4 times.

Project objectives

The project aims to develop food value chain business models consistent with international market conditions that are gender-inclusive, practical, efficient, and enhance the inclusiveness of smallholders in local as well as global modern food value chains in partnership with other public and private stakeholders. The project studies the dairy, meat, fish and horticulture sectors and draw on the experience of farmers in six economies.

The project facilitated knowledge exchange between participating economies, built the capacity of relevant bodies in participating economies and identified the implications of findings for the APEC programs.

Project activities and outputs

Literature review: A review of smallholder inclusive business models

Workshop 1: "Partnering for Smallholders Inclusive Market Opportunities in the Mekong Workshop", 8-9 December 2015, Crowne Plaza West Hanoi, Vietnam.

This workshop was a collaboration between this project and the ACIAR-funded project: A strategic approach to pro-poor market and consumer research in China and the Mekong region.

Project partners

Participating economies and institutions:


Australian Government Department of Agriculture as part of the Australian Government’s Economic Diplomacy Fund.


Tagged in Projects:International development, Projects:Food policy, Completed projects