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Bloom or bust? A global value chain approach to smallholder flower production in Kenya

Bloom or bust? A global value chain approach to smallholder flower production in Kenya Purpose – Integrating smallholders into high‐value global markets represents a unique opportunity to effect large‐scale poverty reduction in the countryside. The purpose of the paper is to add empirical evidence to the discussion of how to best incorporate smallholders into the formal economy sustainably and responsibly. Design/methodology/approach – The paper first builds a theoretical framework around global value chain theory and literature on smallholder inclusion and Kenya's growing horticultural sector. It then moves to explore a Kenyan smallholder‐based business model that incorporates 4,000 flower producers through an efficient and transparent intermediary. The analysis focuses on the importance of governance, upgrading and strong intermediaries for including smallholders in horticultural value chains. Findings – In conclusion, this paper finds that although smallholder inclusion is both favorable and feasible based on theory, literature and case study analysis, it remains limited. It proposes embracing innovative smallholder‐based business models as a viable path out of poverty in countries with low labor costs, suitable climatic conditions and basic infrastructural capacities. Research limitations/implications – Limitations include a reliance on largely qualitative research methods due to gaps in available data. Practical implications – Policy implications include the necessity of promoting agricultural development through investments in extension services, the creation of research and development centers and improvements in the rule of law. Originality/value – This paper is unique in its focus on business models and global value chains as mechanisms through which to include smallholders into the global economy. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Agribusiness in Developing and Emerging Economies Emerald Publishing

Bloom or bust? A global value chain approach to smallholder flower production in Kenya

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2013 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
2044-0839
DOI
10.1108/20440831311321638
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – Integrating smallholders into high‐value global markets represents a unique opportunity to effect large‐scale poverty reduction in the countryside. The purpose of the paper is to add empirical evidence to the discussion of how to best incorporate smallholders into the formal economy sustainably and responsibly. Design/methodology/approach – The paper first builds a theoretical framework around global value chain theory and literature on smallholder inclusion and Kenya's growing horticultural sector. It then moves to explore a Kenyan smallholder‐based business model that incorporates 4,000 flower producers through an efficient and transparent intermediary. The analysis focuses on the importance of governance, upgrading and strong intermediaries for including smallholders in horticultural value chains. Findings – In conclusion, this paper finds that although smallholder inclusion is both favorable and feasible based on theory, literature and case study analysis, it remains limited. It proposes embracing innovative smallholder‐based business models as a viable path out of poverty in countries with low labor costs, suitable climatic conditions and basic infrastructural capacities. Research limitations/implications – Limitations include a reliance on largely qualitative research methods due to gaps in available data. Practical implications – Policy implications include the necessity of promoting agricultural development through investments in extension services, the creation of research and development centers and improvements in the rule of law. Originality/value – This paper is unique in its focus on business models and global value chains as mechanisms through which to include smallholders into the global economy.

Journal

Journal of Agribusiness in Developing and Emerging EconomiesEmerald Publishing

Published: May 24, 2013

Keywords: Global value chains; Africa; Agriculture; Flowers; Case studies; Kenya; Business models

References