Provocation 1: Producer agency and the agenda to make markets work for the poor

The first of a series of ‘provocative seminars’ on smallholders and the ‘pro-poor markets’ agenda took place in The Hague, the Netherlands, on 28 September 2010.

Local and international participants gathered to discuss a series of questions put forward by ‘provocateurs’ from Africa, Asia and Latin America. These questions included:

  • Has small producer ‘agency’ — the ability of smallholders to position themselves and make effective choices — been overlooked in the push to make markets work for the poor?
  • How are small farmers engaging with pro-poor market interventions and how are they trying to influence this powerful external agenda?
  • What are the principles and practices for building producers’ and communities’ capacity to make good choices and shape agendas?
  • What kinds of policies are needed to enable these principles and practices?