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For an organization that has been promoting sustainable agriculture development for some time, Vredeseilanden is not unaccustomed to seeing smallholder farmers struggle to secure markets and attain higher prices. The biggest stumbling blocks, as identified by the Belgium-based NGO, are the farmers’ lack of access to markets, insufficient market information, the inability to meet the product quality required by markets, and limited access to resources (natural, technical, and financial). Cognizant of these problems, Vredeseilanden has modified its approach to assisting smallholder farmers within the context of sustainable agricultural chain development (SACD). SACD is seen by the organization as a means to facilitate greater market access for smallholder farmers. While being part of an ordinary supply chain provides the farmer with a link to market, being part of a sustainable supply chain provides him with an opportunity to participate in the decisions that shape the standards and quality enhancements the chain will deliver to end customers and to secure a more equitable share of the value added commensurate with effort. In its Asian operations, SACD is pursued through participatory agricultural chain assessment (PACA), an approach developed and field-tested by VECO Indonesia. PACA is comprised of three major subcomponents: (1) situation analysis; (2) intervention identification, which may be done by undertaking either participatory research for development (PRD) or multi-stakeholder dialogues (MSD) or both; and (3) chain intervention and planning. As an approach to sustainable agricultural development, PACA considers the level of need within the assisted communities/NGOs and the level of activity contributions each stakeholder is willing to contribute, making the resultant action plan more realistic and achievable.


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