Agri-food Business and Agricultural Trade

Trends in the global business of producing food through agriculture, or 'agri-food' business, have substantial impacts on farmers and workers involved in its production and processing –many of whom are in developing countries. In addition, a number of donors are aiming to connect agriculture to nutrition by making their agricultural projects 'nutrition sensitive' in addition to increasing yields and incomes.

Farmers working for a local agriculture research team plant rice seedlings in a paddy field. Credit: Qilai Shen / Panos

IDS research is exploring the impacts of changes in global agri-food business:

  • Food safety and quality – Businesses face legal requirements to meet ever more stringent public food safety standards and maintain customer confidence at a time when global supply chains are becoming more complex. We are examining how stricter food safety and quality standards, both public and private, have the potential to exclude developing countries from international trade
  • Trade structures – We are looking at value chains for processed agri-food products, and considering whether these provide greater scope to include more small-scale producers.
  • Standards compliance – We are exploring how a global value chain framework can be used to improve capacity-building efforts directed at compliance with food safety and quality standards in international trade.
  • Agriculture and nutrition partnerships – Our Partnering for Better Food project aims to identify and support scalable public-private innovative partnerships in developing countries that bridge the gaps between agriculture and nutrition programmes to improve nutrition for the poor and undernourished.

African Farmer Game

African Farmer is a free, open source game that simulates the complex decisions and uncertainties faced by small-scale farmers living in Sub-Saharan Africa. More details

Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA)

Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA) is a five-year, DFID-funded, research programme consortium which aims to produce new evidence and policy insights into different pathways to agricultural commercialisation in Africa and their differential outcomes for local people and economies. More details

Assessing the Impacts of Enhancing Access to Nutritious Foods

The objective of the research is to develop capacity and an analytical approach for the analysis of value chains-based initiatives aimed at enhancing access and consumption of nutritious foods by the poor and to use this learning to develop research proposals on leveraging value chains for nutrition. More details

Framework for Assessing the Impacts of Efforts to Enhance Access to Nutritious Foods

The objective of this research is to develop capacity and an analytical approach for the analysis of value chains-based initiatives aimed at enhancing access and consumption of nutritious foods by the poor and to use this learning to develop research proposals on leveraging value chains for nutrition. More details

Increasing Transparency in Smallholder Supply Chains: Comparing Approaches to Monitoring Performance of Investments and Private Sector Participation

For this DfID-funded project, we will be providing a synthesis of the types of monitoring, evaluation and data being used by investors and the private sector in agricultural supply chains in a developing country context. More details

Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) in Agriculture: Enabling Factors and Impact on the Rural Poor

This research will identify the key factors driving the effectivness of public-private partnerships (PPPs) at bringing sustained increases in income for smallholder farmers at scale and delivering positive development outcomes across rural communities. More details

Transitions to Agroecological Food Systems

This project will examine potential pathways for transitioning to more sustainable food systems in order to contribute to improved ecological, economic, social and nutritional outcomes. More details

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IDS publications on international development research

A biotech developmental state? The Chinese experience

Democratising Biotechnology: Genetically Modified Crops in Developing Countries Briefing Series (2003)

The biotechnology revolution has almost overwhelmingly been a private sector phenomenon. This alarms many who, aside from other concerns, fear the consolidation of the agri-food industry in the hands of a few multinationals. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Agricultural Trade Liberalization and Poverty Dynamics in Three Developing Countries

American Journal of Agricultural Economics 85.5 (2003)
IDS publications on international development research

Intellectual property rights, biotechnology and development

Democratising Biotechnology: Genetically Modified Crops in Developing Countries Briefing Series (2003)
IDS Working Paper

Contexts for Regulation: GMOs in Zimbabwe

IDS Working Paper 190 (2003)

This paper looks at the regulation of biotechnology in Zimbabwe. It argues that key uncertainties in biosafety debates are context specific; this means that locally-developed, flexible regulatory systems are more appropriate than the standardised, internationally harmonised, solely science-based forms of risk-assessment often advocated for developing countries. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Women and Agribusiness: Working Miracles in the Chilean Fruit Sector

Fresh fruit exported from Chile, and many other developing countries, has become commonplace in our supermarkets during the winter months. Employment in this branch of agribusiness is mainly seasonal and employs large numbers of women workers. More details

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