Sustainable sector transformation: How to drive sustainability performance in smallholder-dominated agricultural sectors?
This paper by Aidenvironment, NewForesight and IIED (PDF) presents a sustainable sector transformation model for smallholder dominated agricultural commodity sectors which takes a holistic approach to transformation. It begins with an explanation of some of the dynamics of sector transformation. It then presents the limits of purely public or market-driven models, before finally presenting the five building blocks that make up the model. The research conducted took place in two phases. Phase 1 of the project reviewed the scope and impact of Voluntary Sustainability Standards (VSS) to date and asked how VSS are best scaled up, given that most agricultural sectors in developing countries are dominated by small-scale farmers who are typically unorganized and lack access to inputs, credit, and technical assistance. Phase 2 of the research took a more comprehensive look at how to scale up sustainability in smallholder-dominated agricultural sectors by developing a model for sustainable sector transformation. The model was developed and tested using a number of country-sector case studies: cocoa in Ivory Coast and Ghana; coffee in Vietnam; cotton in Mali; and palm oil in Indonesia. The model consists of five building blocks: sector alignment and accountability, strengthening of market demand, public sector governance, organization of the production base, and organization of the service sector. The extent to which the building blocks need to be strengthened is context specific, but a focus on only one or two dimensions is bound to lead to a failure to completely transform sectors where there are many smallholders. This model is intended as a framework for policy-makers, donors and the private sector to develop roadmaps for sustainability for specific countries and sectors.