The annual plenary session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) approved on 18 October a set of ground-breaking policy recommendations on ‘Connecting smallholders to markets’. The text recognizes, for the first time in an international forum, that the territorially embedded markets in which most small-scale producers engage – but which are ignored by data collectors and policy makers – in fact channel the bulk of food consumed in the world and perform a range of other functions as well. As compared with formal agri-value chains, they are more remunerative for small-scale producers and for rural economies, since the benefits of value addition are retained in the territories concerned and are available for redistribution rather than being whisked off to global destinations.
The recommendations also underscore the need for public policies to support and extend these markets. The Civil Society Mechanism of the CFS has produced an analytical guide aimed at supporting advocacy efforts by social movements on market issues by making the recommendations adopted by the Committee on World Food Security more understandable and accessible. The guide “unpacks” and explains the key concepts contained in the recommendations and explains what is behind them and why they are important. It should also help to stimulate and support the great deal of additional discussions and work that social movements need to carry out in this essential area. More than fifty organizations from different constituencies and regions contributed to this work, demonstrating the importance of this issue for small-scale food producers. The analytical guide is available in English, Spanish and French at: http://www.csm4cfs.org/connecting-smallholders-markets-analytical-guide/