How can we ensure that partnerships are transformative?

Markets and the private sector as drivers to foster smallholder-based R&D solutions in the Global South


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Thomas Bernet, Salvador Garibay, Irene Kadzere, Laura Armengot, Gian L. Nicolay, Gurbir S. Bhullar, Monika Schneider

Research Institute of Organic Agriculture, FiBL, Switzerland, Switzerland


The session will highlight the importance of private sector in driving research and de-velopment actions which enhance the productivity, profitability and sustainability of value chains involving smallholder farmers in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Motivational factors for industry and preconditions for small-scale producers to successfully be part of joint R&D activities will be highlighted drawing experiences and lessons from four key value chains (organic citrus, organic cotton, cocoa agroforestry systems, organic macadamia nuts).

A Fish Bowl format will be applied with four Working Stations (4WS), one for each value chain. The Convener will introduce the Session in 10 minutes before the participants join WSs. A poster outlining the following topics for each value chain will form the basis for in-depth discussion at each WS:

  1. Key challenges
  2. Objectives
  3. Methodology (stakeholders/partnerships, scientific approach)
  4. Findings, their impacts to industry and smallholder farmers
  5. Lessons learned, identified gaps/emerging challenges, and way forward.

Each WS will have 2-3 discussants representing: i) smallholder farmers, ii) research-ers, iii) private sector/markets. Participants can only participate at two of the WSs (30 minutes each). After 60 minutes, all will convene for 20 minutes where one moderator from each WS will provide a synthesis followed by 10 minutes general discussions. Cross cutting issues focused, on the role of industry in identifying and supporting R4D and the impacts of such on value chain actors will be discussed.


Introduction. Session Convener 10 minutes – highlight the need for strengthening sustainable sourcing of food from smallholder farmers in the global South taking into consideration associated challenges, e.g. high costs.

Workstations (30 min each). At each WS: Industry representative outlines the key challenges, their impacts, and how these prompted and influenced the on-going R4D, and later highlights impacts from the research; Researchers outline the research approach in addressing the challenges, highlighting key findings and gaps/emerging bottlenecks; Farmer representatives (with consolidated views from other farmers) outline the research impacts and the extent to which they have taken up some of the research recommendations.

Plenary discussion/ conclusions (20 minutes)