Contract Farming and Outgrower Schemes: Appropriate Development Models to Tackle Poverty and Hunger?

Report for ActionAid-International (March 2015)

Out-grower schemes (often referred to as contract farming) are an important component of many current public-private partnerships in developing countries, including the G8’s New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition. Such schemes can benefit farmers because the company often provides inputs and production services, incomes can rise, and such schemes often open up new markets. But they can also exclude the poorest people and women and give companies access to land that would not otherwise be available, thus being a disguised form of land grab. Farmers can often become little more than a form of cheap labour and carry most of the project risk. Many schemes are geared towards (often non-food) crops for export or large urban markets and tend to consolidate the role of large corporations in global agriculture supply chains whether smallholders benefit or not. This report argues that evidence suggests that most existing contract farming and out-grower schemes are not appropriate models to tackle poverty and hunger.

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