The shift towards the use of private quality standards in global agrifood chains has raised concerns worldwide that small-scale farmers become excluded from lucrative export markets. In South Africa, given the historical exclusion of small-scale farmers from export-oriented agriculture, the government has therefore introduced different new institutional arrangements (IAs) between small-scale farmers and established agribusinesses to promote access to such markets. This chapter aims to analyse these IAs to understand whether and how these IAs contribute to enhanced market access for small-scale farmers. Based on a conceptual framework on quality specifications and upgrading grounded in Global Value Chain analysis, the chapter first discusses the quality demands and standards in the South African citrus sector which manifest in a ‘Ladder of Market Access’. The following analysis reveals that IAs are able to promote the required product and process upgrading to include small-scale farmers into global export markets. Further upgrading opportunities, however, remain elusive as agribusinesses manage to position themselves as ‘gatekeepers’ which places barriers to farmers’ involvement beyond the farm gate. These insights provide the basis for a set of practice-oriented recommendations specifically addressing policy-makers and other actors in the South African citrus industry to improve the design of smallholder support programmes.
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