Trading up – Building cooperation between farmers and traders in Africa

This book looks at the role that traders occupy in the value chain. Traditionally, the idea was to get rid of the traders. Often farmers think negatively of traders, accusing them of exploitation. By contrast, traders fulfil a vital role in the value chain. In fact, with the appropriate trading partners, farmers are better off, not worse. 

One of the keys to value chain development is to reinforce linkages and partnerships along the chain. This involves analysis of the relationships between the various actors involved. There are issues that affect both traders and producers. Weak institutional arrangements, and high transport and handling costs that are the result of weak public infrastructure, hurt traders and producers alike. Once traders and producers see the value of working together, they can progress to improve institutional issues. 

All of the case studies highlight how organizing both farmers and traders alike improves business relations. Improved chain relations can translate into benefits for farmers, traders and consumers. Finally, actors in the chain who work well together and trust each other can become partners and engage in dialogue with the government to create more supportive policies and actions on such key issues as taxation, research support and infrastructure.

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