Studying the Changing Markets in Kenya and India

Saweda Liverpool-Tasie and Tom Reardon won a grant for a two-year project for $800,000 from RIMISP. The grant is for data analysis for a number of countries in Africa and field surveys in all segments of several ag product value chains in India and Kenya.

Kenya and India are extremely rapid changing markets, and a project team led by Saweda Liverpool-Tasie and Tom Reardon of Michigan State University’s (MSU) Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics (AFRE) is wanting to look in to what is a root cause. The team was recently received a two-year grant to work with international collaborators to delve into helping small farmers in the two countries.

The purpose of this project is to help small farmers market better and more, while also helping them to understand the role of these other parts of the supply chain and their relationships. This would include how the relationships between each part of the supply chain developed, what are the constraints to those relationships between the small enterprises and the other components of the supply chains and the farmers, and helping the farmers understand how policy and programs can help that relationship to blossom even further.

“I would say that I'm very attracted to doing something thoroughly and fully,” Reardon shared. “This is not a quick in and out. We have been working with the local institutions, building the partnerships, publishing together, and doing these things over several years at this depth which has really scratched the itch of making a difference.”

The study will be focusing on two agricultural commodity groups: vegetables and fish. The team will be specifically focusing on how do the farmers get into commercialized farming within these areas.

The team will be using a stack survey methodology to collect data, which they pioneered in previous research in India.

“The stack survey means that instead of just doing a big farm household survey, we'll do a full survey with a decent sized sample of all the different nodes or segments of the supply chain,” Reardon explained. “So, we'll do a farmers of input providers, wholesalers, logistics, processors, and retailers. This will allow us to triangulate and to look at all of the segments of the supply chain together but with statistical depth. And in India we'll do that, but with the products flipped.”

The two-year grant is funded for $800,000 from RIMISP, a Latin America based NGO. The grant is for RIMISP (as lead) to work with MSU, Tegemeo Institute at Egerton University in Kenya, and IFPRI/South Asia office (with the participation of IFPRI/MSU researcher Ben Belton), as well as ISSER in Ghana, for data analysis for a number of countries in Africa and field surveys in all segments of several ag product value chains in India and Kenya. The work will use research method approaches developed in the MSU/IFPRI work in Africa and Asia that has/had been funded by Gates, USAID, and Asian Development Bank over the past 20 years.

The project begins on April 1st, with the project team having a kickoff meeting in Washington, D.C.

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