Unravelling the Inclusion of Smallholder Farmers in Markets: The case of self-organised and farmer-led auctions trading chilli in rural Java
This thesis investigates the performance of farmer-led and self-organised auctions in rural Java, Indonesia. The auctions broker the relationship between small-scale chilli producers and traders operating in regional and national markets and organise collective trading. Performance of the auctions features ways to handle tensions and risks, practices that shape the terms of inclusion of smallholder farmers, and the use of a variety of mostly unwritten rules that direct actions and practices at the auction site. Looking at the everyday practice of running an auction is expected to explain how they are able to broker market access by including smallholder farmers and maintaining the groups’ sustainability in markets. In addition, this practice-oriented study generates methods to recognise and insights into the use of unwritten and unwritten rules that shape the trading practices with both suppliers and traders. The two research objectives of this thesis are as follows. First, to understand how self-organised farming groups create and sustain the auctions as a mechanism for brokering terms of inclusion for smallholder farmers in perishable product markets. Second, to offer a practice-based perspective on the dynamics of collective trading by looking deeper into the dynamics of farmer-led forms of collective trading in order to advance diagnostic capacity. The main research question of the thesis is: What sustains farmer-led collective trading groups to refashion terms of inclusion in the context of dynamic markets?