Inclusive markets

Smallholder and family farmers have gotten a pretty raw deal. They produce food for a substantial proportion of the world’s population, but their choices are constrained, and they often live without food security and access to markets and services.

While the world continues to urbanize at extraordinary rates, nearly 8 out of every 10 working poor live in rural areas. More and better employment opportunities are needed for rural populations if we are to eradicate poverty and hunger.

Efficient agricultural markets and trade can drive agriculture-led economic growth, but efforts to move toward a market-oriented economy are often hampered by ineffective policies, weak institutions, inadequate infrastructure, and unequal social relations. These bottlenecks often make women and marginalized groups more vulnerable to the effects of poverty, land degradation, climate change, and other shocks.


Tools and methodologies to make market linkages work

What we do: A better deal for farmers and consumers

CIAT supports smallholder farmers overcome the many constraints they face. To bring smallholder agriculture from subsistence to profit, CIAT is spearheading research on inclusive economies.

We strive to make smallholder agriculture more market-oriented and competitive by developing tools and knowledge to strengthen value chains, while also working with the private sector to promote inclusive business models.

How we do it: Driving systemic change

By analyzing new partnerships within the public and private sector, considering new business models for smallholder inclusion,  promoting sustainable sourcing, and uncovering new financial tools for social entrepreneurship and agro-enterprise development, we believe that significant progress can be made towards ending poverty and hunger.

  • New business models for sustainable trading relationships
  • Social entrepreneurship for pro-poor agriculture development
  • Sustainable, inclusive supply chains
  • Distribution, access, and food security issues for developing countries
  • Public policies for inclusive supply chains in Latin America

To this end, CIAT has also developed various methodological guides and tools to support other institutions that are interested in implementing participatory agribusiness development programs.

Our impact

The world’s third largest consumer goods company, Unilever, has adopted CIAT’s LINK methodology in support of its Sustainable Living Plan to help its buyers deal with smallholder farmers worldwide and develop inclusive trade relationships.

Heifer International has trained its technical staff in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Haiti, and all of South America in the use of the LINK Methodology as a way to foster more inclusive business models.

In Latin America only, there are over 50 cases in which the LINK methodology was used as a development tool, evaluation tool, or business tool to build more inclusive and sustainable business models between producer associations and buyers.

Research updates

markets | CIAT Blog Science to Cultivate Change


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Latest publications

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