KIT Dossier Traders

Last update: Tuesday 16 October 2012

Unleashing the potential of traders in rural development


In much of Africa, smallholder farmers face serious difficulties selling their produce. But farmers, along with development agencies and governments, treat the traders who market their goods with suspicion and mistrust.

Thus, traders struggle to run their businesses in the face of adverse policies and attitudes.
With more respect and support, they could develop markets, add value to products, invest in new businesses, and improve the efficiency of the food distribution system. They could generate demand for farm products and help improve the incomes and livelihoods of rural people.

This dossier shows how relations can be strengthened between farmers, traders, wholesalers, processors and retailers in the value chain, highlighting the potential of traders to develop markets and the value of traders to producers and their livelihoods. It describes how these chain actors can build institutions (such as market information systems) and agree on rules (such as standard weights and quality grades) to enable agricultural markets to function better.

The dossier is a spin-off from Trading up: building cooperation between farmers and traders in Africa (KIT/IIRR, 2008)
Under the coordination of the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) and the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR), this book was written using an innovative process pioneered by IIRR called a ‘writeshop’. Based on the premise that a lack of market access for smallholders in Africa is closely related to the lack of respect for the role of traders, KIT and IIRR invited traders, farmers and practitioners from a dozen African countries for a week-long retreat to document their experiences of overcoming distrust and learning to cooperate for their mutual benefit.





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Dossiers are thematic guides to selected documents, links, and work of the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT). They cover sub-themes within the broader scope of a KIT information portal.

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