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Innovative markets for sustainable agriculture. © FAO

Innovative markets for sustainable agriculture

How innovations in market institutions encourage sustainable agriculture in developing countries.

Between 2013 and 2015, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and INRA undertook a survey of innovative approaches that enable markets to act as incentives in the transition towards sustainable agriculture in developing countries. Through a competitive selection process, 15 cases from around the world provide insights into how small-scale initiatives that use sustainable production practices are supported by market demand, and create innovations in the institutions that govern sustainable practices and market exchanges. These cases respond to both local and distant consumers’ concerns about the quality of the food that they eat. The book evidences that the initiatives rely upon social values (e.g. trustworthiness, health [nutrition and food safety], food sovereignty, promotion of youth and rural development, farmer and community livelihoods) to adapt sustainable practices to local contexts, while creating new market outlets for food products.

Specifically, private sector and civil society actors are leading partnerships with the public sector to build market infrastructure, integrate sustainable agriculture into private and public education and extension programmes, and ensure the exchange of transparent information about market opportunities. The results are: (i) system innovations that allow new rules for marketing and assuring the sustainable qualities of products; (ii) new forms of organization that permit actors to play multiple roles in the food system (e.g. farmer and auditor, farmer and researcher, consumer and auditor, consumer and intermediary); (iii) new forms of market exchange, such as box schemes, university kiosks, public procurement or systems of seed exchanges; and (iv) new technologies for sustainable agriculture (e.g. effective micro-organisms, biopesticides and soil analysis techniques). The public sector plays a key role in providing legitimate political and physical spaces for multiple actors to jointly create and share sustainable agricultural knowledge, practices and products.

Year of publication: 2016
Edited by: Allison Loconto, Anne Sophie Poisot and Pilar Santacoloma

This book can be consulted on the FAO website

Allison Loconto

Find out more about Allison Loconto, research scientist at the Interdisciplinary Laboratory Science Innovations Societies (INRA, Univ. Paris Est Marne-la-Vallée, CNRS, ESIEE, Ecole des Ponts ParisTech):

Allison Loconto, expert for the FAO
Allison Loconto, member of the International Sociological Association
INRA-FAO Workshop June 2015: Innovative approaches to linking sustainable and agroecological production with diversified markets in developing countries