Food chains and networks for development: lessons and outlook


  • M. Slingerland
  • R. Ruben
  • H. Nijhoff
  • P.J.P. Zuurbier


Agro-food chains and networks can become an important instrument for development, particularly if smallholder participation can be guaranteed and adequate support is provided for capacity development and upgrading. These conclusions can be derived from the presentations delivered at the international conference organized by Wageningen University, The Netherlands, on 6 and 7 September 2004. Keynotes from representatives of public agencies, nongovernmental and farmers’ organizations, scientists and different chain partners (from farmers to retailers) - both from the South and the North - identified a number of strategic policy issues that deserve attention. Different business cases offered a rich range of experiences, empirical evidence and lessons learned for successful supply-chain integration. The conference’s main aim was to build bridges between scientific research and development practice. In this final contribution, major challenges for research and feasible options for interventions are identified hat can contribute to developing integrated agro-food chains and networks and to improving their added value as a pathway towards pro-poor and sustainable development.