Conceptualizing inclusiveness of smallholder value chain integration


M.A.F Ros-Tonen, V. Bitzer, A. Laven, D.O. de Leth, Y. Van Leynseele, A. Vos

The integration of male and female smallholders in high-end value chains (e.g. those for tree crops like cocoa, oil palm, avocado, and mango), has been promoted throughout the global South as a strategy for poverty alleviation, economic growth, employment generation, gender equality, and improved wellbeing.

More critical literature, however, questions the inclusiveness of farmers’ value chain engagement. Despite rapid mainstreaming of inclusiveness in policy discourse, remarkably little literature sheds light on the operationalization of the concept. This paper addresses this gap. Based on a comprehensive review of three bodies of literature with the prefix ‘inclusive’ (inclusive business, inclusive value chain, and inclusive development) it unravels economic, social, relational and environmental dimensions as a basis for analysing and enhancing the inclusiveness of smallholders’ value chain engagement.