Policy: Inclusion, empowerment, and the social impact of Ecuador’s native potato value chain


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Policy: Inclusion, empowerment, and the social impact of Ecuador’s native potato value chain

  1. 1. Inclusion, empowerment, and the social impact of Ecuador’s native potato value chain International Food Security Dialogue 2014: “Enhancing Food Production, Gender Equity, and Nutritional Security in a Changing World” May 2014 Leah Buckley
  2. 2. Overview  Ecuador’s Native PotatoValue Chain  Study Objectives  Methodology  Characterisation of Participants  Overview of results  Challenges and Recommendations  Conclusion
  3. 3. Ecuador’s Native PotatoValue Chain  CSR and pro-poor value chain development can help to realign market activities to improve the participation of marginalized actors and the benefits they receive.  However, they often fail to fully integrate farmers as active stakeholders in the value chain  Inalproces: Export-oriented smallholder-linked enterprise, produces chips made from two native potato varieties (yana shungo and puca shungo), sourced from smallholder farmers in the Ecuadorian highlands  CONPAPA-Tungurahua (Consortium of Smallholder Potato Producers): association of smallholder potato farmers, and sole supplier of the native potatoes used by Inalproces
  4. 4. Study Objectives  To understand and evaluate the perceptions of benefits among smallholder farmers, with respect to their participation in the native potato value chain.  To relate the results with those of other value chain actors, with an emphasis on value chain governance, participation, trust, and gender empowerment, to view how the value chain can maximize its contribution to poverty alleviation and food security in the Ecuadorian highlands. Research Questions: 1) What are the benefits associated with participation in the value chain, according to the perceptions of the farmers? Are there areas that need greater attention to strengthen inclusion among farmers? 2) Is participation in the value chain related to the level of empowerment among women? 3) What options are identified by value chain actors to improve organizational/operative capacity, innovation, and to take advantage of new market opportunities?
  5. 5. Methodology  Literature Review  Field work:  80 surveys with participants and non- participants of CONPAPA and the value chain  Focus groups with CONPAPA and non- participants to explore gender, minimum assets, barriers to entry  Data Analysis  Collective Action Framework (Devaux et al. 2009); adapted to strengthen its representation of inclusive governance, gender, and social impacts (Thiele et al. 2011; IFPRI 2012; Donovan & Stoian 2012)  Excel, SPSS  Recommendations & Final Report
  6. 6. Characterization of participating farmers  14 women, 23 men  Averages:  Age: 46 years  Size of plot dedicated to native potato production: 0.5 hectares  Time involved with value chain: 1.5 years  64% report a male head of household  84% have titled land  51% of titled land is in the name of both spouses; 41% the man; 5% the woman; 3% parents  All farmers combine potato cultivation with other agricultural and non-agricultural activities
  7. 7. Result 1.1. Benefits perceived through participation in the value chain  Fixed and higher price offered by Inalproces, the guaranteed market  83% of men and 71% of women have experienced an increase in income  New income has been invested in potato cultivation, seed purchase, and spending in health, education, and nutrition  Participants recorded higher levels of diversification in their daily diets than non- participants  95% of farmers expressed an interest in continuing to cultivate native potatoes However… • Only 65% of farmers are satisfied with the price they currently receive for the native potatoes. • Farmers still consider native potatoes risky because of the high quality requirements and absence of markets outside of Inalproces
  8. 8. Result 1.2.Trust Index included questions such as:  Do you feel that the information that you receive is: a) Complete; b)Transparent; c) On time?  Do you think that Inalproces is a just enterprise? Lack of trust is the result of poor communication and misunderstanding:  CONPAPA’s presence and relationship with farmers is much stronger and more direct  Inalproces’ high quality demands are not met with technical, on-the- ground support, i.e. confusion of climatic damages with disease  Inalproces feels that CONPAPA does not always communicate to farmers (i.e. small potatoes) • Levels of trust in CONPAPA were higher than Inalproces (Index average 0.79 versus 0.68) • A significant relationship was found between levels of trust and plot of land dedicated to native potato production
  9. 9. Result 1.3. Governance WithinValue Chain:  Farmers are not just suppliers but participate and are informed in decision-making, contract negotiations, and the activities of Inalproces Within CONPAPA:  Monthly obligatory meetings communicate the activities of the consortium  Internal and external decisions are always approved by the assembly of members  87% of farmers participate always or almost always in meetings and workshops  84% of farmers report feeling that they have a space to express their needs and opinions Although there are high levels of participation in general… • Farmers feel the meetings are time consuming, especially considering transportation, and are not always productive • Farmer engage less during decision-making • Gaps in communication: 30% of farmers perceive that the information they receive is not complete, transparent, and does not arrive on time
  10. 10. Result 1.4. Participation Factors that limit farmers from increasing production  Only one market – Inalproces  Limited access to land, credit, labour, technical support  Risks of loss of harvest: climatic factors, quality requirements and post-harvest care  Women commented:  Physically demanding and more time consuming than other crops  Income diversification important to guarantee income and food security Barriers to entry for non- participants  Minimum knowledge of CONPAPA, the value chain, and rules of entry  Lack of irrigation systems  High costs of inputs associated with potato production  No access to technical assistance to achieve high quality product  Lack of experience organizing and directing a formal agricultural association
  11. 11. Result 1.5. Gender, participation, and empowerment  ‘Feminization of agriculture’ in Latin America (Deere 2005)  Examined women’s empowerment through questions on:  Decision-making in household and farm activities  Participation and leadership roles in associations  Recognition of role in potato production  Women involved in CONPAPA have higher levels of participation in decisions related to farm activities  High levels of participation in CONPAPA and other associative activities  Women are recognized for their role in potato cultivation, but are not remunerated equally However… • Women find it more difficult to participate in meetings and workshops • There are significant differences between women from different communities
  12. 12. Objective 2: Business skills capacity  The market for native potatoes is increasing, but there is insufficient supply to meet the demand  There is interest among farmers to participate in business skills capacity workshops (89%), especially commercialization (70%)  However…  CONPAPA lacks a business culture  The concentration of responsibility prevents the consortium from successfully engaging in other activities, i.e. innovation.
  14. 14. Challenge 1: Improve the efficiency of the value chain, with the capacity for growth Challenge: Communication between actors is not sufficiently clear nor structured. This provokes confusion, doubt and misunderstanding which undermine the value chain’s efficiency Recommendations:  An improved and structured system of communication for farmers, using tools and materials that are accessible to farmers. Reinforce these materials periodically during meetings and workshops  Improve collaboration and plan specific objectives to improve innovation, including workshops, monitoring and evaluation, etc.  Workshops on governance structures, the roles of each value chain actor, and the importance of active participation
  15. 15. Challenge 2: Increase production and quality to respond to market demands Challenge: Inalproces feels frustrated that their expansion is limited despite growing international demand. Farmers say they do not have the resources necessary to increase production.The sentiment of risk and insecurity is prevalent. Recommendations:  Support systems for investment and production, including:  Coordination between actors to improve quality and post-harvest management  Agricultural technician to support quality control  Loans/system of credit to help with investment
  16. 16. Challenge 3: Growth in value chain through increase in participating farmers Challenge: Despite interest among non-participants, neither CONPAPA nor Inalproces have concrete strategies to increase participation. Further, there is limited awareness of the circumstances of non-participants, especially women, that could otherwise open doors to new farmers Recommendation (CONPAPA and Inalproces)  Information campaign  System of incentives through a system of traceability, in conjunction with capacitation, monitoring and evaluation, awards Recommendations (Support Institutions):  Undertake a study to understand livelihood strategies adopted by non- participants, especially women  Develop a gender strategy to confront barriers to entry and minimum assets to participate in value chains and new market opportunities
  17. 17. Challenge 4: Business Capacity Challenge:  Absence of a business culture within CONPAPA limits their ability to develop and take advantage of new markets for native potatoes  The concentration of responsibility in one person, and the absence of a dedicated resource to manage business development in CONPAPA, inhibits their organizational development and prevents their reach and expansion Recommendations:  CONPAPA:Collaborate with universities and institutions to receive interns or professionals in business and marketing  Workshops (with the support of business institutes) to build capacity in business and organizational development
  18. 18. Opportunity: Farmers Business School  FBS is a method of “learning by doing” to improve business capacity among farmers  The focus is flexible, depending on the needs and interests of farmers in a particular region  CIP has demonstrated experience and success with the FBS
  19. 19. Possible modules of FBS in the native potato value chain 1)Workshops on value chain analysis and inclusive governance: internal analysis, identification of best practices, lessons and key actions for success, etc. 2)HumanCapital development: Improve coordination through systems of communication and diffusion of information 3) System of quality and monitoring: How to structure a system of traceability, through capacitation, quality control, and incentives for high quality production 4) Business capacity development at distinct levels: Principals and processes to analyze the internal potential, and take advantage of new markets through innovation
  20. 20. Thank you