Provocation 2: Rights-based versus market-based development

Article, 10 February 2011

The second in a series of six seminars on markets and small-scale farmers took place in Stockholm, Sweden on 3 March 2011.

A false dichotomy for small-scale farmers?

Watch video from the event:





Over the past decade, development policy and discourse has become steeped in the language of human rights. Indeed, a 'rights-based' approach is the standard starting point for most cooperation efforts to reduce poverty. But increasingly, development policymakers are also embracing business as a valid tool for alleviating poverty among smallholders and adopting ‘market-based’ approaches. 

In practice, it is rarely a simple matter of choosing one approach over the other. Many development agencies themselves operating from a rights-based approach at the policy level, while adopting a market-based approach in practice.

Can they tread both paths at once?


Olivier De Schutter, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food
PV Sateesh of Deccan Development Society
Dr Diana Mitlin of IIED and IDPM
Ngolia Kimanzu - Swedish Cooperative Centre
Andre Goncalves - Centro Ecological Brazil
Panel discussion

Initiated by the IIED/Hivos Knowledge Programme, Small Producer Agency in the Globalised Market, the ‘provocations’ series challenge conventional wisdom on how to include smallholders in markets and bring fresh perspectives to the discussion on what works and why.


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