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Each case study will identify good practice and derive policy lessons for public and private sector actors in supporting greater participation by small-scale farmers in dynamic markets. The comparative analysis will compare these policy lessons to assess their potential for replication and scaling-up. To facilitate this comparative analysis, the case studies will have to comprise a variety of situations. Three dimensions of variety are central:

1. The stage of market restructuring – i.e. the degree to which modern forms of processors and/or retailers dominate the overall agri-food system. This dimension of variety is important because the approach of the Regoverning Markets is essentially anticipatory, transferring lessons from areas or countries where change is advanced to those where changes are just starting, when appropriate.

2. The stage of development of the supply chain:

  • (a) centralization of procurement,
  • (b) specialized, dedicated wholesalers,
  • (c) private grades and standards, and
  • (d) preferred suppliers.

This dimension of variety is important because from Phase 1 of the Regoverning Markets programme we know that supply chains evolve very rapidly. The key challenge for small-scale producers and rural SMEs is not to access restructured markets but rather to keep pace with the rapid, almost violent changes in the conditions of participation, and thus to respond to the changing incentives they face.,which is determined by their skills and capacities.

3. The form of chain integration: mere participation as individual suppliers of raw material, collective action with other suppliers to meet basic demands for volume and consistency of supply, specialized supplier on the basis of value-adding activities, co-owner of a supply chain or one of its segments. This dimension of variety is important because each form of chain integration implies different types of arrangements that require specific public and private policies, intervention strategies, working methodologies and development of skills.