Recently researchers from Wageningen UR, including researchers from Plant Production Systems, wrote a white paper on how to support the poorest farmers in commodity value chains. The white paper is entitled A living income for smallholder commodity farmers and protected forests and biodiversity: how can the private and public sectors contribute. In the white paper the authors stated that “There is no business case for lifting the poorest farmers out of poverty”. This statement was intended as a challenge to find company business cases and alternatives to the common focus on agricultural productivity or price to raise incomes.
A blog on the university website elaborates on the white paper. “In some quarters it has, apparently, been taken to mean that because many smallholder farmers can never earn more than a living income from agricultural commodities, companies are justified to exclude such vulnerable farmers from their supply chains. In this blog we emphasise that exclusion is not what we argue for. Our aim is to highlight the huge diversity among smallholder farmers and their households, and the entrenched poverty in many of the regions from which commodities are sourced. Through this we hope to stimulate a rethinking of both company business models and government strategies on their roles in building more equitable and sustainable value chains.”