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New books – Farmers and Markets

Community Biodiversity Management / Greening Global Value Chains / Challenging chains to change


Community Biodiversity Management Promoting resilience and the conservation of plant genetic resources

Walter Simon de Boef, Abishkar Subedi, Nivaldo Peroni, Marja Thijssen, Elizabeth O’Keeffe (Eds), March 2013, Routledge, 422 p., £39.99, 978-0-415-50220-7 More information

The conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity are issues that have been high on the policy agenda since the first Earth Summit in Rio in 1992. As part of efforts to implement in situ conservation, a methodology referred to as community biodiversity management (CBM) has been developed by those engaged in this arena. CBM contributes to the empowerment of farming communities to manage their biological resources and make informed decisions on the conservation and use of agrobiodiversity.

This book is the first to set out a clear overview of CBM as a methodology for meeting socio-environmental changes. CBM is shown to be a key strategy that promotes community resilience, and contributes to the conservation of plant genetic resources. The authors present the underlying concepts and theories of CBM as well as its methodology and practices, and introduce case studies primarily from Brazil, Ethiopia, France, India, and Nepal. Contributors include farmers, leaders of farmers’ organizations, professionals from conservation and development organizations, students and scientists.

The book offers inspiration to all those involved in the conservation and use of agrobiodiversity within livelihood development and presents ideas for the implementation of farmers’ rights. The wide collection of experiences illustrates the efforts made by communities throughout the world to cope with change while using diversity and engaging in learning processes. It links these grassroots efforts with debates in policy arenas as a means to respond to the unpredictable changes, such as climate change, that communities face in sustaining their livelihoods.

Greening Global Value Chains: Implementation Challenges

Bernard Sinclair –Desgagné, 2013, OECD Green Growth Papers, 2013-04, OECD Publishing, Paris

The objective of this paper is to highlight some of the most important implementation issues associated with the greening of global value chains (GVCs). Special attention is given to how public policies and business strategies can support each other in meeting the challenge, particularly in developing countries. The first part calls for holding a systemic view of GVCs. This view should include downstream supply chains and take explicit account of the relationships between regular members (raw materials providers, component manufacturers and assembly plants, notably) and their clean – tech suppliers. It also involves a careful description of GVCs’ business landscapes: their respective industry structures and competitive settings, the available financial and business services, surrounding NGOs and communities, national governments’ respective energy, trade, industrial and environmental policies, and the relevant local and global infrastructures (i.e., institutions, cultures, transportation, communication means, etc.). It finally requires reliable environmental metrics and data, and must examine how these can be shared among GVC members and their stakeholders.

The second part focuses on the incentives that should be set within member firms and throughout the supply chain. This involves reviewing managerial practices – monitoring and auditing of environmental performance, compensation and rewards, transfer prices, task design and allocation, decision making processes, employee selection and training, and organizational culture – and framing outsourcing contracts appropriately. To be effective, however, these initiatives need to be encouraged by credible national policies (which include environmental but also social policies targeting informal businesses) and international agreements, revealing disclosure programs and a vigilant civil society. The third part finally considers the global coordination of business and public policies, as the greening of a GVC will certainly work best if its members and stakeholders move in tandem.

Challenging chains to change Gender equity in agricultural value chain development

Anna Laven, 2012, 348 pages, Euro 25, ISBN 9789460222122

Very often, efforts to improve value chains miss out half of the population – the female half. It is men who sell the products and who keep the money from those sales. The women, who do much of the work but are not recognized for it, often have to work even harder to meet ever-increasing quality requirements. But they see few of the benefits.

How to change this? This book explains how development organizations and private entrepreneurs have found ways to improve the position of women in value chains – especially small-scale women farmers and primary processors. It outlines five broad strategies for doing this: (1) working with women on typical “women’s products” such as shea, poultry and dairy, (2) opening up opportunities for women to work on what are traditionally “men’s commodities” or in men’s domains, (3) supporting women and men in organizing for change by building capacity, organization, sensitization and access to finance, (4) using standards and certification to promote gender equity, and (5) promoting gender-responsible business.

The book draws on dozens of cases from all over the world, covering a wide range of crops and livestock products. These include traditional subsistence products (such as rice), smallscale cash items (honey, vegetables) as well as export commodities (artichokes, coffee) and biofuels (jatropha). The book includes a range of tools and methodologies for analysing and developing value chains with gender in mind.

By bringing together the two fields of gender and value chains, this book offers a set of compelling arguments for addressing gender in value chain development. It proposes an analytical framework that builds on both fields. It outlines five strategies for development organizations and enterprises to ensure that women can participate in value chains as full partners and decision-makers. The overall result is to improve value chain performance, with both women and men able to enjoy the benefits.