Knowledge programme publications

The Knowledge Programme Small Producer Agency in the Globalised Market project has promoted cross fertilisation between the work of the Learning Network, the work done by commissioned researchers and the material from the series of provocations held since its inception in 2009. This research aims to reshape the debate on smallholder producers reaching and influencing global markets. All published material is available free to download.

Article, 14 May 2013

Books and papers

Small producer agency in the globalised market: making choices in a changing world (Available in English and Spanish)
International expectations for the world’s half-billion small farms are growing, against a very dynamic backdrop. Small-scale farming is expected to contribute solutions in areas ranging from poverty reduction and food security to climate change adaptation.

Small-scale farmer strategies to make markets work
This Reflect and act briefing paper showcases a joint Hivos/IIED project on small producer agency in the globalised market and highlights lessons learnt from this work.

Small-scale farmers' agency in the face of globalisation and rapid rural change: outputs of a global knowledge programme
Brochure with details of project work and related publications produced from the three-year small-scale farmer Knowledge Programme led by IIED, Hivos and a global Learning Network.

Meeting small-scale farmers in their markets
This report is the outcome of an expert workshop held in November 2012. Participants set out to better understand the dominant informal markets that link small-scale farmers and low-income consumers. It was organised by IIED and Hivos in association with the close of their knowledge programme Small Producer Agency in the Globalised Market.

Global studies

Filling knowledge gaps has been a major concern of the Knowledge Programme since its inception. The programme commissioned papers on overarching themes. How has the debate on small farmers and globalisation evolved over time? How have small-scale farmers reacted in the face of extremely rapid economic modernisation, or under alternative 'popular' socialist systems? Do we have the right approach to policy and markets for the new rural generations?

Changing perspectives: small-scale farmers, markets and globalisation (Available in English and Spanish)

Small-scale farming and youth in an era of rapid rural change (Available in English and Spanish)

Small-scale farmers in China in the face of modernisation and globalisation (Available in English and Spanish)

Small-scale farmers under socialist governments: Venezuela and the ALBA People's Trade Agreements (Available in English and Spanish)

Regional studies

Actors who work closely with small-scale farmers – in farmer federations, in trade, in support functions and in research – are in the best position to reshape the debate. The Knowledge Programme facilitated a learning space where academics, practitioners and business people could reflect through research and debate in their countries or in international and global meetings and events. The Learning Network was convened in April 2010 and brought together leaders and practitioners from the worlds of academia, farming and agribusiness, from Latin America, Asia and Africa. Members have produced new insights and studies to contribute to redefine the terms of the debate. The findings of these national studies have been compiled in Regional documents.

Innovating to compete: smallholder farmers' agency and markets in East Africa (Available in English and Spanish)

Small-scale farmers' decisions in globalised markets (Available in English and Spanish)

Small producers in Latin America: New ways of thinking and acting in markets (Available in English and Spanish)


IIED, HIVOS and collaborating organisations have hosted a travelling series of seminars across Europe, to explore and stimulate the debate on smallholders and markets. The 'provocations' looked at some of the big assumptions, impacts, benefi ts and risks of common approaches taken by the development community to 'make markets work' for small-scale farmers.

Pro-poor business, development and smallholder empowerment

Rights-based versus market-based development: a false dichotomy for small-scale farmers?

Producer agency and the agenda to 'make markets work for the poor'

Other papers

Markets for the many rather than the few ('Rural 21' opinion paper)
A development policy opting exclusively for value chain development and the integration of producers in modern markets overlooks the reality for the majority of smallholders, our author maintains. Policy should pay greater attention to addressing the area most small-scale producers are active in: the informal sector.

Small-scale farmers' agency: how the poor make markets work for them (briefing paper)
Instead of thinking about how to make markets work for the poor, we must look at how the poor make markets work for them.

Transforming agriculture in Uganda: nine points for action (opinion paper)

Issue 44: Markets, smallholders and empowerment (Journal publication co-edited by IIED and Hivos, published by

Africa Roundtable report

Asia Roundtable report

Latin America Roundtable report

Minutes from first Learning Network meeting, Geneva April 2010

These titles are also listed within our publications database