Mobilizing the Midstream for Supporting Smallholder Intensification

Ruben, Ruerd; Kuijpers, Rob; Dijkxhoorn, Youri


Most policies and incentives that aim to enable smallholder farmers towards the intensification of their agri-food production systems focus on supply-side strategies, such as training, technical assistance or credit services. Far less attention is usually given to demand-side drivers, such as the role of midstream value chain actors supporting smallholder’s investments in primary production. This explorative paper provides new insights on the value addition in the production vs. the midstream segments of agri-food value chains. It focusses attention on the influence of value chain integration on smallholders’ production and investment opportunities, and the implications for the structure of primary production. We use data from several value chains in sub-Saharan Africa to illustrate how farmers link to commercial midstream actors are able to enhance resource productivity, efficiency and profitability. In addition, we show that a larger role of the midstream in value added creation is associated with a more equal farm size distribution.