Traders tend to get a bad press from producers in many ACP countries. Farmers accuse them of exploitation and wrongly believe that if they could only get rid of the middlemen, their profits would improve. This collection of stories, produced in a writeshop that involved producers and traders themselves, sets out to contest the standard image of traders. The book looks at the vital role played by traders in the value chain and claims that, with appropriate trading partners, farmers are better off than they would be without them.

A selection of case studies, including transporting livestock in Kenya, selling yams at Kumasi Central Market in Ghana, exporting Tanzanian coffee to European markets and exporting tomatoes from Burkina Faso to Ghana, helps highlight the various stages in the value chain and the challenges encountered by those responsible. Special attention is paid to the significant and often underestimated difficulties faced by traders themselves. They struggle with little working capital and poor payment rates; inadequate transport infrastructure results in long, arduous trips that often translate into heavy losses.

Examining issues that affect both traders and producers, such as weak institutional arrangements and high transport and handling costs, the book reinforces the message that the two groups would do well to join forces rather than squabbling. Actors in the chain who work well together and trust each other can become partners and engage in dialogue with governments to create better policies on key issues such as taxation, research support and infrastructure.

Trading Up: Building cooperation between farmers and traders in Africa

Edited by L Peppelenbos & P Mundy
KIT/IIRR, 2008. 289 pp.
ISBN 978-90-6832-699-4
KIT Publishers
PO Box 95001
1090 HA Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Fax: +31 20 568 8286
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