The development of the fruit and vegetable sector in developing countries has a positive impact on the Food and Nutrition Security (FNS) of the people engaged in the sector and for urban and rural consumers. This is the outcome of an explorative study by LEI, focusing on the different FNS pillars for assessing the potential of the horticultural sector: availability, access, utilisation and stability.
Improving the level of organisation
More development opportunities are provided for F&V growers when they link up with upcoming small and medium-sized enterprises in the agri-food sector that invest in logistics, wholesale, warehousing, cold storage, processing, local fast food and retail. An important trend is the upcoming supermarket sector in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. Surveys in Kenya and Indonesia show that F&V growers who participated in these higher value supply chain arrangements for the domestic and regional markets receive a higher income. Improving the level of organisation among F&V growers and creating economies of scale in the smallholder sector is a precondition for their inclusion in these emerging F&V supply chains.
Trend away from smallholder production
In the high-value fruit and vegetables export sector in East Africa we observe a trend away from smallholder production as the main suppliers of fresh produce. However, alternative employment is created in the peri-urban packing houses. While the employment in the high-value export sector was initially focused on unskilled rural labour for F&V production, nowadays it requires a prepared labour force due to the complex demands of global buyers, the enforcement of new public and private standards, and the growing global competition among developing countries.
Comparing fruit and vegetable sector with other sectors
The fruit and vegetable sector compares favourably with cereals and other food crop sectors in terms of employment and income generation. The production of vegetables has a comparative advantage particularly under conditions where arable land is scarce and labour is abundant. Vegetables have a lower comparative advantage when labour and access to inputs are the limiting factors.