MARKETING UNDERUTILIZED CROPS TO SUSTAIN AGROBIODIVERSITY AND IMPROVE LIVELIHOODS
Agricultural households in developing countries maximize utility instead of profit and take consumption and production decisions simultaneously. Their choice to produce a certain set of crops and engage in an array of activities is also based on interests other than profit maximization, resulting in a diverse farming system with a high level of agrobiodiversity, especially among the semi-subsistent. Often it is perceived that once farmers become increasingly involved in both demand and supply markets, they will become more specialized, resulting in reduction in agrobiodiversity. This is because of substitution of consumption of goods which were formerly produced by the household but have now become products purchased, complying with market demands. Indeed, economic development will likely induce changes in decision-making, based on rising opportunity costs for labor and cultural changes. A trade-off may take place between income increase and agrobiodiversity maintained on farm. However if markets are sufficiently diversified and consumers become interested in traits of specific agrobiodiversity, it becomes possible to re-govern markets to sustain agrobiodiversity rather than to reduce it. If this is the case, this has important implications for underutilized species. Developing markets for these species could have a significant effect on both the maintenance of these resources and on the livelihoods of those maintaining them. In this paper, we present a conceptual framework that aims to increase the understanding of the complex relationship between markets and agrobiodiversity. Four case studies on underutilized species in Asia and Europe are described to illustrate the framework and highlight the impact of underutilized species on peoples livelihoods. Aspects found to be important in the framework include the scale, level, and type of agrobiodiversity considered. Possible tools suggested to make market chains more sustainable for agrobiodiversity are targeted public awareness campaigns, identification of high value products, and promotion of specific traits or properties of specific species or varieties.
Kruijssen, F., Giuliani, A. and Sudha, M. (2009). MARKETING UNDERUTILIZED CROPS TO SUSTAIN AGROBIODIVERSITY AND IMPROVE LIVELIHOODS. Acta Hortic. 806, 415-422
biodiversity, supply chains, underutilized species, smallholders, trade-off, income