Issue 067: Alternative markets for improved livelihoods
The greatest challenges that family farmers face are developing strategies to improve market access and adding value to their agricultural production. There is a clear need for small scale farmers to find an alternative to the formal market that is mainly dominated by big transnational agri-business. In East Africa, there is already a high demand for farm produce by markets that are to be found quite close to farmers. Often the challenge lies in the fact that most agricultural production in the region is rain-fed, a situation that often leads to a glut in the market, particularly for fresh produce, because farmers tend to grow similar commodities when rains are good. For non perishable commodities such as maize, farmers often miss a fair market due to pressure from brokers who get to their farm gates offering non-competitive prices. This issue shows a range of experiences in East Africa and beyond that set examples that may be amenable to replication.