Chapter 5: Beyond the value chain: local impacts of 'global' inclusive agribusiness investments - examples from Ghana
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Guus van Westen shows how worldwide food production is increasingly organised in global value chains, linking producers, traders, processors and consumers in distant localities. Inserting smallholders in poor countries into corporate value chains by means of inclusive business models has become a major development strategy, aiming not just for just and sustainable agricultural growth, but even for further goals such as food security. While outcomes in terms of incomes can be positive, there are also risks involved in the approach, certainly when private-sector led initiatives are expected to deliver development objectives beyond production increase and the interests of those involved in business model and value chain. Examples draw on current research in Sub-Saharan Africa. The conclusion is that inclusive agro business is a sound strategy for agricultural development, enabling part of the rural population to improve life, but it is not a sufficient approach to combatting poverty. It is far from clear that market forces can be made to work in the interests of the poor; rather, inclusive business initiatives seek to adapt the poor to the needs of the market. A genuinely equitable and sustainable development strategy would therefore complement inclusive business initiatives with policies enabling ‘stepping out’ farmers to find alternative livelihoods in sectors such as processing and services.

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